The love of the father
I’ve heard 1000 sermons on the prodigal son, and even more on the attitude of his older brother, demanding a party, after all of his years of hard work .
Of course, I’ve seen my reflection in both, depending on what season of life I was in.
But we always forget about the third character of the story -The father.
His younger son basically wants him dead- to take his inheritance without thinking about how his father would feel.
His younger son, completely disowned the family and leaves, never to return again.
Then the son completely squanders all the money, landing up in a pigsty, and completely disrespects the family, and how he was raised.
If I was a father, I would be so upset- knowing that all my hard work and sacrifice would’ve been completely a slap in my face.
Certainly, the father would have justification to abandon his son, and write him off of any future inheritance or property.
But yet, the father waits and expectation for his son, to come home, to embrace him -donning him with treasures, rings, and honor.
How many times in our lives, have people betrayed us, taken from us, and hurt us, knowing that it would deeply wound us?
And yet, through the process of daily walking with Jesus, we should become more like the father - willing to forgive, being over-the-top-generous, embracing those that have betrayed us, and leaving no room for pettiness.
When the Holy Spirit revealed this to me this week, I was moved to tears.
I always thought the place of the father in the story was simply a reflection of God- waiting for us, looking for us, and being so loving- which, of course it is. But there’s another layer to this story.
Through my 20 years of walking with the Lord, I’ve seen myself as the prodigal son, in my early years of faith.
Then, in my teen in early adult years, I would see my attitude of religiosity in the younger brother, and picturing myself there.
Now, in my almost 40s, with three children and a husband- I am now, realizing that the ultimate test of my faith comes to being most like the attitude of the father.
This is the area that I need the most help on, because that is a daily process of learning to work with others, learning to sacrifice and crucifying my flesh daily.
This means completely putting myself below everything else, and being completely submitted to the ultimate mission of the Kingdom.
So, which character do you see yourself as?
Do you see yourself as the product with son, running away from God?
Do you see yourself in the role of the older brother-wondering where your reward is?
Or do you see yourself in the role of the father, reflecting the will of God, and being completely forgiving and kind ?
Reflect on which character you see yourself as, and then ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more like Jesus every day .