Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:11-24
The parable of the lost son provides us with some unique truths and interesting insights that we can use in our daily lives. Consider the story of the first son. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a place similar to his situation. We’ve looked at our life, assessed it, and have made a decision that has turned out wrong – it has hurt us, hurt others, and hurt our Father. In time, we come to the realization that we have made a mistake, that we have caused injury, and that we are in fact denying ourselves blessings that we would otherwise be celebrating if we had continued to stay in tune with what our Father had intended for us. That moment of revelation can be difficult. When we look back upon the decision, upon the things that were said, upon the hurts that were caused, we realize the true depth of the issue and must settle that in our own hearts.
But that’s not the hardest part for us. What we find more difficult is coming back. The first son realized his plight – he knew he ended up among the pigs and that a life in his Father’s workforce was better than being the Sultan of the Swine. But look at the anguish he goes through in preparation of returning. He knows he offended and the feelings of awkwardness coupled with a fear of the outcome have him confounded and afraid. Had he only known the true feelings of the Father! If he had an inkling of his father’s reaction – that he would have thrown his arms around him, kissed him and welcomed him with celebration – I dare say he’d have returned to face Him sooner. This isn’t to say that there wouldn’t be discussions to follow, but the Father wanted to convey two important truths to His son: I love you, and I want to see you moving toward what is best for you.
No matter where we go, what we do, or what we’re facing, God will always welcome us with open arms, with kisses, and with celebration. How fortunate we are to serve such a wonderful God.