June 16 I Sunday
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants 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.’”—Luke 15:17-18
A Chinese proverb by Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
There may be a thousand miles to go but it always begins with a first step, and that first step is, “I am going to go home.” Jesus’s Parable of the Prodigal Son tells of a son who demands his father give him his share of the inheritance early, which he then squanders in pleasure. He winds up a broken young man, bankrupted with nothing, embarrassed and full of shame. When he finally comes to his senses, he realizes that even servants at his father’s house are treated better than his current circumstance. He knows that he does not deserve to go home as a son and is ready to ask his father to take him back as a hired servant.
On the other side, we see a father taking a risk by letting his son go. A risk that he would never see his son again because the son might die doing what he was going to do, beaten up or robbed on the road. But here is the wonderful part of the story. “While [the son] 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 round him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Does that mean his father was outside every morning looking down the road? Yes, it probably does.
Though the father was looking out for his son, he did not send a camel or a horse to bring the son back, even though the son had been walking for days and weeks for miles and miles. Rather, the son had to walk every last step until he was finally home.
There is no distance we can go or trouble we can get into that can overcome our Father’s great love for us. No matter how we may have squandered our lives, the Father is waiting, arms wide open, ready to run and meet us. All we need to do is take that first step
and start coming home. May our return ring like the words of this old hymn:
I have wandered far away from God
Now I am coming home
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod
Lord, I am coming home.
Coming home, coming home
Never more to roam
Open wide your arms of love,
Lord, I am coming home.
Like the Chinese proverb, our journey home begins
by taking that first step.
Prayer: Dear Father, even though I have drifted away from You, thank You for welcoming me back into Your presence with open arms. I praise You for Your unceasing love for me.