“Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me,”
A young son came to his father and asked him to give him the money that he was saving for him. His father agreed and the young son left his comfortable home to go out on his own. He soon spent all the money and was so destitute that he wanted to eat the feed that was given to the animals. Then he remembered, “My father was good to me; he fed me; he put a roof over my head. I have gone and thrown that all away because of my pride of wanting to do it myself!”
This is the story of what has been entitled “The Prodigal Son.” A prodigal is someone who is wastefully extravagant. The son or daughter leaves his or her parents to do things that they do not approve of; ultimately they see the error of their ways and seek forgiveness.
This story has an older brother who stays at home and helps his father. He is jealous of his younger brother, but his father tells him how much he loves him and he will never leave him.
Now, the father, who is the epitome of love. He loves his young son, so much he is willing to let him go knowing that the teachings of his childhood will bring him through. The fact is, each one of us must learn our own way. The path to righteousness (right living) cannot be taught—we must experience life ourselves.
The father also loves his older son. I can’t imagine that he was happy with him when he came in from the fields whining that his father was giving a party for his brother who left home and squandered all his money on raucous living! “Dad never gave me a party!” he said. Yet, his father left the party of the younger son to meet his eldest son in the midst of his rage. He told him, “Son, I know you are upset because I have done this for your brother. But, please know that I love you today, tomorrow, and always. You will always be my firstborn whom will receive all I have.” I can imagine that after that he invited his son to come and join them. Also, that the brothers became friends again. The scripture doesn’t say this, but God never does things half-way.
This is a parable about pride and humility. Solomon in his wisdom wrote in the book of Proverbs, “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) But, as humans we have only so much power and wisdom on our own—usually after suffering many wrong decisions—we must turn ourselves over to a higher power—to God the Father. We learn that all He requires of us is to “act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8) And, in God’s “Amazing Grace,” He receives us back into His arms.
In the words of a song by Robert Byron Hudson: “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord/And He shall lift you up…/Up into Heaven/He shall lift you up.”
This is God’s amazing grace, that He receives us as His children even after we have turned our backs on Him. So, ask for forgiveness and repent of your sin and He will lift you up. Nothing you have done is so bad that God will not forgive, receive you into His family, and make you His own.
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
Once I was lost but now I am found
Was blind but now I see” (John Newton, 1779)
Dear Lord, humble me in Your sight and make me a blessing to someone each and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen