Genesis 10-12 / Matthew 4
“The younger [son] said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.’” Luke 15:12
One of the better known stories Jesus told was the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”. The younger of two brothers asks his father for his share of the inheritance, which his father gives him. The son travels to a distant land, squanders his money on reckless living and finds himself at the bottom of the bottom. He comes to his senses and returns home, completely humbled and wanting to earn his keep as a servant. The father is elated at his son’s return and immediately makes preparations for a celebration.
Billy Strachan, a Christian teacher, once asked what people thought was the best part of this story. Some said it was when the son finally comes to his senses and returns home. Others thought it was the father showing his love at his son’s return by his sheer elation. But Billy chose what many would think was the worst part – the father giving his son his share of the inheritance and letting him go.
Fathers know their sons, and this father would have known exactly how his son was going to squander his newfound wealth. Why, then, did he give him the money? The answer is love, the same love God shows us by giving us a free will. It is a high risk love, but just as the father did not force his son to stay at home, our Heavenly Father allows us to choose which way we will go, despite the risk.
God did not create us as robots designed to obey Him, but as free creatures with the ability to choose. The son is hungry, penniless and longing for the pods he fed the pigs. He wants to go back home and make up for his behaviour, but the father faces a different issue. Jesus tells us, "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” (Luke 15:20). The father does not mention squandered money, insult or a far-away country. He blissfully welcomes his son home and immediately plans a celebration. The son's actions were only a symptom of the real issue the father faced: a broken relationship.
That is our primary issue with God; not where we have been or what we have done, but putting our relationship right with Him. Rock bottom is often where God will meet us, revealing things in such a way that we “come to our senses” and in humility realize our very real need for Him. And like the father in the Prodigal Son, our Heavenly Father stands on the threshold, waiting to joyously welcome us back.
PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving us a free will to choose and for always being there when I have sinned and strayed from You. I am in awe of Your love and compassion. Thank You, Lord.