The Prodigal Son | Chris Denning
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants,‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
When I consider my relationship with God, I tend to focus more easily on how I feel about God or, more simply, my perspective in the relationship. I’ll focus on how I want to love God more or how I need to be better about the time I spend with him.
However, I easily forget the other side of the relationship: how God feels about me. When I read this parable about the Prodigal Son, I see myself in both sons, but I also see God in the father’s reaction.
With the son that ran away only to return, the father expresses extreme joy and excitement at his return. I see this in verse 24, where the father says, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
With the son that faithfully stayed and felt slighted by the celebration, the father responds with gentleness, reminding him of what truly matters. I see this in verse 31-22, where the father speaks to the second son, saying, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is your. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.”
The father in this story reveals part of God’s heart for me. He finds great joy when I turn back to him after I turn away, but he also responds gently to refocus my perspective when I lose my way.
As I said earlier, I have a hard time remembering God’s perspective of my relationship with Him. I can easily get down on myself when I don’t feel that I’m doing enough or have been falling short in my walk with Him. However, His perspective of me is just as important.
We need to take time everyday to remember how God sees us: as his sons and daughters, that He finds great joy in and wants to gently help.
I want to challenge you today to think of an area in your walk with God where you’re especially hard on yourself. It could be consistently spending time with him, taking time to pray, serving others, or anything else.
Then, remind yourself that even though you will fail, fall, and turn from him, he finds great joy in you and only wants to gently help you correct your perspective.
Lets use that truth to be encouraged to follow him more closely today.
Thank for being just that: a loving father. Your great love for me is hard to accept sometimes, but it always present and never–changing. Help me today to remember that even though I will fail, fall, and turn from you, that you will always welcome me with open arms.
Remind me of the joy you find in me being your son or daughter.
Help me to grow by gently correcting my perspective in life.
Give me grace to follow you more closely today. In your name I ask and pray,