Day #59: A Father's Love

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,[fn] ‘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.

Luke 15:11-24, ESV

 

Has there ever been a story that reveals the Love that God has for us as the one in this parable told by Jesus? Just think about what we can learn from this lesson:

 

First, we find an entitled son who demands that his father give him property that he has not earned. Then he takes the proceeds, leaves home, and begins to consume his father's possessions in a sinful life. And then something happens that nearly always happens: The son runs out of money, but not before learning one of the critical lessons of sin: While we might enjoy a few fleeting moments of pleasure from sin, we will always, always, always experience long term grief from such a lifestyle.

 

So he ends up in the pig pens, no doubt covered in the filth that is always present in such surroundings. Then, after a while, the son does something that far too few sinful sons do - he comes to his senses! And he repents! And he then decides that he will go home and throw himself on the mercy of his father, not to be given more funds to spend on more sin, but just to have an opportunity just to be in the father's home so that he can serve him And then he starts for home...

 

But no sooner does he stars for home than his father sees him coming. It would seem that the father has been looking to see if his son would repent. And when he does, the father rushes to help him home!

 

This raises a couple of questions. Why does the father not go and get the son before he gets into such a bind? For that matter, why does the father let the son go in the first place? The answers to these questions will help us to understand some very important things about our relationship with God. First, while God does not want any of us to go off into sin, He will let us because part of the test of life is the privilege of our own free will. Second, we cannot be in the presence of God while we are steeped in sin, so we will always have to leave Him when we involve ourselves in such sin.

 

There is a lesson in this for all of we parents who might be tempted to go and "bail out" our children when they are still living in sin. As loving an act as this might seem, we cannot allow our children to live in sin in our presence, for they will end up polluting our entire households with the products of their sinful lifestyle. And, though it would be folly to try and get them to come home prior to repentance, like our own loving Father in Heaven, we must be looking for them. For there hopefully will come a day when they come to their senses and will need help coming home.

 

And, by the way. Our loving Father will do the same for us... if we will let Him!

 

This is why we read! So we can learn the lessons that our Father has for His beloved children. Today's lesson is from Luke chapter 15.