Scripture Text: Luke 15:20-24 Title: The Father’s Plan

Question of the Day: Does our heavenly Father have a plan when a wayward child returns?

The story of the prodigal son and the loving compassionate father has many very good points to make in it. The son had been gone a long time, and it is obvious in this story that the father already had a plan in mind for when the son returned home. Isn’t this just like our heavenly Father. When we have gone astray, done our own thing, spent all of our money and energy on pursuit of temporal things that cannot satisfy, and in this story it says, “…he spent it all in riotous living.”, and when we have come to the end of ourselves—tired, hungry, and lonely—then our heavenly Father has a plan to quickly restore us! Look at what the father in this story had planned:

1. “But” the father interrupted his son’s speech with orders of his own. Isn’t that just like a father? He has a plan in his mind of how he would treat the wayward son:
2. He didn’t ask him first how much money was left. This would have been obvious by the shabby dress and the smelly clothes his son was wearing, and by the hungry look on his face.
3. He would first be cleaned up and dressed in the finest robe available.
4. Then restore the family ring—which in those days would empower the son to buy the necessary things he needed. This today would be the equivalent of giving him a credit card to use, or cash to spend as was needed!
5. Then the son would have proper shoes on his feet. “Those shoes are worn out and cannot properly take my son where he needs to go,” the father would muse to himself.
6. Then bring on the best meal available, that is, the “fatted calf” is in this story.
7. And let us all “eat and have a festive time.” The father didn’t wait for the son to “prove himself” again—this was his son, and he would be treated just like before—far better than the formerly wayward son deserved.
8. To the father, the son was gone and had been dead and lost as far as he knew, and he was so glad to have the son return because now he is alive and found.
9. And isn’t this just like what our heavenly Father does for us? The Father accepts us back home “just as we are”. He knows what kind of a life we have lived, and there is no use rehashing it and explaining it again and again—just come home!
10. Our Father first clothes us in the “finest robe”, the clean and pure righteousness of His own Son. We are not properly clothed in this life unless the Father can see the righteousness of His Son clothing us!
11. God the Father then begins to give us far more than we could ever want—and for sure more than any of us deserve. This is His marvelous grace kicking in and providing for all that we could ever need.
12. Then our feet will need new shoes, and those shoes will take us places we never could have gone before.
13. Then we will be fed with the “fatted calf”, which for us is our Father giving to us things to eat that satisfy, and not like the hunger we experienced before when we were in that far away land. This is real satisfaction that only the Father can give us.
14. Now it is time to “eat and have the greatest fellowship on earth available”. God only knows how much good Christian fellowship means to us and how it will strengthen us.
15. All of this came because of the excitement of our heavenly Father that once we were dead in our sins and lost sheep wandering aimlessly, but now we are alive and found.
16. So let the celebration begin—and the celebration that we are experiencing here on earth is just a small foretaste of that great celebration the Father has planned for us in eternity!

We can easily put ourselves in this story because all of us at one time were lost and dead in our sins. But the Father’s plan has changed all of that. What else has He planned? Listen to the words of Romans 8:17-18: “And if now we are God’s children, then we are also heirs of what our Father has planned, and more than that, joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ. So if we suffer now in this life, it is so that we can one day be glorified with Him. Here is the bottom line: I am convinced that the sufferings in this present life are not worthy to be compared with all that the Father has planned, and for the splendor and glory that is ours in eternity.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for all that you have planned for us. When we were “lost and dead in our sins” we couldn’t even imagine all that You had prepared for us—and we can’t even grasp it yet! We are not worthy, but we are eternally grateful for all that You planned and have prepared for us. Your plan is extra-ordinary! Amen!