In Luke 15 we read the story of The Generous Father. He is faced with the responsibility of raising two sons who are quite different. We have read the story as the Prodigal son or the lost son and many of us can identify with the pain that many parents go through in raising children!
The father is confronted one day by a demanding son who wants his share of his inheritance immediately. We are not told the age of the sons but the father responds by dividing the property between them. The demanding and short-sighted son leaves home with his share of the wealth. His mind will have been filled with ideas about how he was going to live a life of luxury.
The Message says, “the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had.”
ATTENTION GRABBER – A CRISIS!
We have probably focussed our attention on the son and some of us will identify with the mess the son made of his life. He ends up selling himself into slavery as the famine strikes and he runs out of money. There is nothing like a crisis to get our attention and turn our minds and hearts to wisdom.
As the story develops the son who has come to the end of himself decides he would rather be back home with his father. Can you see the stupidity, arrogance and selfishness of this young man who thought that he could live his own life in his own way?
The beauty of this story is that Jesus is actually telling us about His heavenly Father and He is the central figure in all of this. As we read the story from Jesus’ perspective we begin to understand something of Father’s love for us. On the one side we see a son who is so selfish in asking for his inheritance while his father is still alive and on the other side a father who responds with such pure unadulterated madness – so it seems!
THE FATHER KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR US
This father, unlike me does not nag his son or offer jibes about his stupidity. He does not run out to buy him a meal when the famine strikes and neither does he send him a cheque in the post. No, he waits at home, watching and desiring him every day. This is our heavenly Father’s heart. He waits until we are tired of doing our own thing – until we turn to come home! This is a father who knows what is best for us.
While the son was still a long way off on the road he must have looked down every day, the father saw him, His heart pounding – he ran out to him and embraced the emaciated and needy lad. Again, the father’s heart seems so big, so generous, so amazing! He embraces the son and kisses him! Can I say at this point that we desperately need fathers like that in this nation, although thats a story for another day!
What kind of Father is being revealed in this story?
OUR FATHER LOVES US DEEPLY
We are talking about the Father who loves us – just as we are!
The Father who longs for us to be with Him and trust Him completely.
We have been given access to Father through Jesus. It is this Father who declares, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again with resulting fear, but you received the Spirit who places you as adult sons, by whom we cry out with deep emotion, Abba, [namely] Father.” [Romans 8:15 Kenneth Wuest]
This is Father God who loves us more than we know and longs so deeply for us to turn to him with all of our heart. As a parent with grown up children there is something very special about experiencing honest and open intimate friendship with them. It is very precious!
The father in the story knew that his son had suffered deeply as a consequence of his own sin. He was not going to pile on the guilt but rather loved him unconditionally and set him free from his pain. Our heavenly Father is not interested in our sacrificial service but He does so want us to know [experientially] just how much He loves us.
We need to hear this wonderful Father for ourselves say, “I love you my child” Each day hear the sound of gladness and joy. Receive the embrace and kiss of your Father who loves you deeply now.
Our relationship with our Father is not based upon how we perform or how hard we work at trying to please Him. It is a pure love gift from heaven.