“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)
You were once a wanderer. Yes, I know. You thought you knew it all. Your heart and mind were set on doing evil. Yes, they were. You were walking in darkness along a path that led away from me. Yes, I was. Your experience was not unlike this first lost son. That’s for sure. What similarities do you see? He was so head strong and independent. He was so self-centered and unconcerned about how his actions might hurt others. All he cared about was what he wanted. Yes, that’s right. He got all that he thought he wanted, but his life left him broken, bruised, and battered. Yes, it did. He was experiencing the consequences of all his sin. What was that? He was completely destitute. When his money ran out, his friends all ran away. His starvation led him to working and living in a pigsty. That must have been humiliating for him. Yes, it was. His poverty and hunger gave him no choice. He became enslaved to others just to survive. Yes, he was. But, you have one point wrong. What’s that? He had a choice and he took it.
Let’s talk about the choice he made. Alright, he reached rock bottom and he came to his senses. What was that? Somehow he knew that he could turn away from his sin and go back to his father. He was ready and willing to confess his sin to his father. Yes, he was. He thought he might be able to pay his father back by working as his hired servant.He even had a little speech prepared. But, what happened when he tried to give it? The Father would hear none of it.
What did the Father do? The Father was watching and waiting for his son’s return. He saw him at a great distance. His heart was filled with compassion for his son. He ran out to meet him. He threw his arms around his son and kissed him. Then he covered him with a new robe and put a ring on his finger. All the father’s joy drowned out the son’s proposal to be a hired servant to his father. There would be none of that. Instead he was freely forgiven and there would be a party to celebrate. Why was that? The son who was dead was now alive. The son who was lost was now found. Yes, these are my favorite celebrations. I have no greater joy than to see my sons and daughters return to me.
You know all that I did for this lost son I did for you when you returned to me. I was watching and waiting for you. I ran out to welcome you home. I threw my arms around you. I put my robe of righteousness on you. You have my ring on your finger and my shoes on your feet. You are not working for me as my servant. No, I am working in and through you as your Father. Let’s celebrate that! That’s a great idea.
Father, thank you for watching and waiting for me when I was far away from you. Your love brought me to my senses and caused me to turn my life around and give it to you. It is now my desire to love, follow and serve you. Amen
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