The Prodigal Son: A story that undoubtedly strikes fear into the hearts of mothers and fathers everywhere, and lights memories in the minds of sons and daughters who remember it's tale.
It’s the story of a wayward son who demands his inheritance early, and ends up leaving his home and squandering his money on everything from sex to gambling.
The prodigal son eventually finds himself broke and in the dirt with memories of home running through his mind, which is when he decides to return home and beg for forgiveness and maybe just a job as a servant in his fathers household.
But, upon his arrival, instead of bowed heads of disappointment, he finds the loving embrace of his parent.
I think this story is one we can all relate to, whether we are the prodigal or know someone who is.
It is a story that has, or will become, a common theme as we observe life.
Different people focus on different aspects of the story:
-As parents, I’m sure the immediate inclination is to ensure that it never becomes a reality for their children.
-As pastors and teachers, I’m sure there is a need to show the detriment of selfish desires and sinful living.
-But as a son, who has been a prodigal once or twice in his life, my interest lays in what pulls the Prodigal home.
What is the voice inside when the Prodigal is the most down and out calls him home, and why did he listen to it?
Why is the wayward son suddenly willing to humble himself to the lowest position just for a chance to be back in his parents care?
I can remember times in my life when I found myself surrounded by the consequences of my poor choices and willful rebellion.
And the thing that ended up pulling me home, the driving force to my return to the straight and narrow, wasn’t the facts or opinions on rebellious living I had heard a thousand times in church.
It wasn’t the countless warnings of sin (now too late to be applied, anyway).
Instead, it was something so much more personal, real and tangible.
It was the song of my home that would play in my ears, as I would sit head in my hands, trying to find the light in a dark situation.
It was remembering the warm embrace of a loving family and an inviting home.
It was the grace I knew my mistakes would always be met with.
It was the warm meals, good conversation and the personal connection I missed with the ones I loved.
Essentially, my reason for choosing to leave my prodigal tendencies in the past and return home to my loved ones was having loved ones and a home worth returning to.
There is a Biblical picture for this that God paints masterfully throughout the bible. After all humanity (you and I) decided to live its own way and rebel against the way life was meant to be lived (as Prodigals). God first decides that instead of just getting rid of us, He wants us to have a chance at redemption by forgiving us.
But he doesn’t stop there. The way God redeems us and shows us forgiveness is giving us a chance at a personal relationship with God!
But THEN He goes on and creates place for us to come home to, a beautiful perfect place where there will be “No more tears”.
God looks down on you and me, after our display of rebellious independence, and calls us home with to a loving embrace of a parent and a perfect vision of home...Heaven.