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Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Musings - The Prodigal

My all time favorite parable in the Bible is the story of the Prodigal Son.  I have loved this from the very first time I read it - have heard it preached on - have taught it numerous times and read some great re-tellings of it (the best is Phillip Yancey's modern update in What's So Amazing About Grace!)  So naturally, when I came across it in my reading yesterday, I got very excited!!

Why? do you ask . . . I can identify with every part of this story and every time I go through it, I learn something different.  Recap - There is a father with two sons.  The older one is very well behaved - compliant and obedient. (He has his own issues - but I will save that for another time!) The younger is rebellious and self serving.  The younger brother asks for his inheritance from his father (basically saying - wish you were already dead!).  His father decides to comply and give him what he asks for.  The younger brother takes the money and runs . . . far away to a distant city where wine flows and women are easy.  He is very popular with his new found fortune and throws a lot of parties.  But . . . as it goes, the money runs out, the friends disappear and he finds himself working for a pig farmer (low, low, low for a jewish boy) and wishing that he could just eat the food the pigs eat.  He begins to long for home and plans out the speech he is going to give his father to get back in his good graces.  He sets out for home and here it is . . . my favorite part!!

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate."
Luke 15:20-24

I have certainly been like the younger son - foolish, impulsive and reckless.  I have often squandered what the Lord has so graciously given me.  I have taken my eyes off of Him and made choices that were like death to me.  I have pursued what I thought would make me happy only to find that it was utterly empty when I got there.  I have been that son that comes walking back to my Father with my head down, embarrassed and broken.  AND GOD RAN.  He was waiting for me with open arms and He took me back - clothed me with the righteousness of Christ and invited me to the feast of the Lamb.   God didn't just sigh and say, "Ok - I guess you can come back but I'm not happy about it!"  

He saw me from afar and He felt compassion for me.  He didn't plod along, walk or drag His feet - He RAN.  He didn't scold me or say, "I told you so."  He runs - He embraces.  Hope is reborn and I get another chance.

I don't know where you are today or how you are feeling about your relationship with God.  But, as one prodigal to another - He is waiting for you with open arms.  There is no line that you could have crossed that would tag you as ineligible for grace.  

Your Heavenly Father is not just sitting back and waiting. 

He is eagerly anticipating your return - 

watching for you on the horizon -

waiting to run and meet you.

Amazing Grace - How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I am found
Was blind but now I see.

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