August 6, 2022
Read Luke 15:11-32
11 Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. 13 Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living. 14 “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. 15 He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” ’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. 21 Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting 24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27 The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ 28 Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter, but his father came out and begged him. 29 He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’”
Good morning! Even those who are desperately lost are welcomed home.
The parable of the prodigal son is one of the more well-known stories in the New Testament. There are multiple messages in this passage, and it is interesting to consider the passage from the perspective of each son.
Many of us have probably had a moment in our lives when we questioned the fairness of some action by one of our parents. We cry out in annoyance of the decision, “It’s not fair!” I can imagine the “good” son thinking just that. In fact, his reluctance to enter the party indicates his discontent. When his father explains the situation, he joins in and welcomes his brother home.
Over the years, I have heard stories from those who didn’t experience an abrupt, ground-shaking conversion experience. For those who have been with Christ for as long as they can remember, their conversion was smooth (maybe even uneventful), and when they came of age baptism or confirmation was the obvious result of a child of God ready to commit themselves to a life of service. This group of believers can’t put their finger on a specific day or time that Christ called them to follow him because they were already there.
Then there are those who leave the fold and choose to live a sinful life filled with earthly pleasures. These children push every boundary and eventually fall into despair as a result of their choices. For those who recognize that they have strayed and call out admitting their sins, God welcomes them back to the family. They come to church, admit their sins as they share that they “were lost, but God found me”, and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. This group of believers have a dramatic moment to which they can point and say that they were saved.
Christ shared with us that all who admit their sins and call Christ their Lord and Savior will be saved. God loves all of us equally. For those without the dramatic conversion story, be blessed knowing that God loves you and cares for you. Do not be envious of those with a story to tell! Accept them as they are and thank God that your brothers and sisters are no longer lost. We are all saved by the grace of God. There is nothing that we can do to earn this grace.
Loving and Caring God, Thank You for loving us. How many times do we try to judge others? You take each of us where we are and love us fully. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
Thought for the day: God looks at me with love and cares for me.
Rejoice in the grace that is freely given to us! Pastor Liz