As I said in a previous post, parables usually have one central teaching. The key point of this story is not the sons but the father. The father represents God. The point is that God is anxious to forgive and restore.
God relates to us where we are. He responds to us as we are.
Some of us are like the younger son. We are prodigals. We are wasteful. We live for ourselves and turn our backs on God. What is often overlooked by people who focus on the younger son is that he was lost and would have stayed lost if he had not repented. Twice we see this expressed.
(Luke 15:24 KJV) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.We see it again in verse 32. He was lost. He was dead. He was not just out of fellowship, he was on his way to hell and no amount of love from the father would restore him until he got on his feet and returned broken and repentant.
Some of us are like the older son. This is the one who is in fellowship but has lessons to learn. He is the one who is acknowledged as heir.
(Luke 15:31 KJV) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.He was not lost. Yes, he did a lot of work. That is to his credit, not a reason to condemn him for not automatically forgiving his younger brother.
I would rather be the older son with lessons to learn than the younger risking hell.
Thankfully God deals with us where we are. He is patient. He is forgiving. He is holy.
May you meet Him from where you are and move constantly toward where He wants you to be.
homo unius libri
I've heard so many sermons on the prodigal son that I didn't feel like reading any of it until today. I went back and read all three posts just now, though, and I think you have a very good take on it.ReplyDelete
I have noticed that when I wax eloquent on theology people skip it. That's okay. Blogging is an outlet that lets us express ourselves. I am honored that you went back and read it. Maybe occasionally I do something right.Delete
Grace and peace.
Once upon a time, a mother and father raised five sons. All had blessings and faults, but one in particular was less intelligent, less talented, and more rebellious than the others were. This troublesome son the mother, who never used foul words, labeled “the independent shit” and she prepared herself emotionally for the heartbreaking likelihood of someday seeing him swing from the gallows.ReplyDelete
All of the sons grew up and left the home as they should, but four of them would return from time to time to reside for extended periods when life became too challenging. The father took ill and was unable to continue working, so the mother set aside her lifelong dreams and wore thin from years of being the breadwinner and caregiver to all under her roof.
Shortly before the mother passed away, she took her rebellious son aside during one of his brief visits to make a confession. “When you were a child, I truly hated you. No child on earth could have possibly been less obedient. As adults, all of my sons faced challenges, yet you, the one I believed destined to fail, were the only one who was ever resourceful, who never came home for help, money, or shelter. Only you, of all my sons, never once moved back home. On your visits when you gave us help or favors, you would take nothing in return. At first, I resented it all as rejection, but as my burdens became nearly unbearable, I grew to admire and appreciate your fierce independence and toughness. I now understand why you were the child you were and how you became the man you are. I want to thank you for your many loving visits over the years, but most of all, with all of my heart, I want to thank you for never coming back home.”
It is kind of like the ugly duckling, revisited. I often tell the kids at school that one reason I can keep coming back for more of their struggles with puberty is that my son was one their age and I wanted to take him back to the hospital and get a refund. I am glad that they had a no refund policy because his cussedness is part of the reason I am proud of him today.Delete
How do you get along with your four brothers, or was this an apocryphal story?
Grace and peace.