Scripture Text: Luke 15:11-24 Title: Father’s Day
Question of the Day: Fathers: would you give your rebellious teen son a large sum of money to blow?
We are all familiar with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, so let’s recount some good lessons from it. The thing that impresses me most about the story is the father, and, of course, this becomes the great picture of our heavenly Father. First, the father gave the son, when the son insisted, a large sum of money, knowing that the son was young and restless and rebellious, and hung around with the wrong friends. Would you do that? Note that the father didn’t just give the kid a credit card and send him away and keep paying the bills all along; he gave the son a large sum of money—the total of the son’s inheritance, knowing what the son would do with that money.
Then the father didn’t run after the son or threaten him or demean him when he went away from home to “a far country”. In fact there is nothing mentioned in this story about a huge barrier to the son’s returning home—no conditions or threats that had been made, in fact nothing that would keep the son from returning home with a repentant spirit. Here are some more things we can learn from the father in this story:
1. He was willing to give his son his share of the inheritance—even though he knew that the son was young, immature, selfish, and arrogant, and would soon blow it on “riotous living”.
2. He released his son to his own sinful and willful and arrogant lifestyle, and it is never says here that he tried to hold back his son.
3. His father had plenty of hired servants, and took good care of them, so the son knew that if he went back home, he would be well fed. It is interesting to note that it was hunger that brought the son to his knees and back to his father.
4. His father was ready and eager to hear the repentant speech of his son; yet the son never got the whole speech that he had prepared out before his father stopped him.
5. He was so eager to see his son he gave him a royal welcome—even watching to see when his son was to return, and ran and embraced him.
6. The father smothered the son with love and affection—so much so that the son never got all the way through his repentant speech. His love and affection so overwhelmed the son that he forgot his full speech and his heart, which was already humbled, was now overcome with acceptance and joy because of his father’s reaction.
7. The father could tell without one word being spoken that the son, who he was eagerly watching for, had a broken spirit, and so he poured out so much love and affection that the son began to be restored and healed quickly.
8. The father waited to hear just one word from his son: the word “father”! And when he heard that word, then love and compassion just flowed. Actually, the father showed a lot of eagerness and compassion before the son had a chance to say a word, and isn’t that just like our Heavenly Father?
9. Since the son knew his father, he knew that if he ever returned home, he would have to have a repentant heart since he had blown all of his inheritance on “riotous living”.
10. The son also knew of no barriers that could keep him from going home: no “I told you not to blow that money on careless friends”; no “get out of here and don’t ever come back”; no “don’t come back until you have changed dramatically (because the father—like our Heavenly Father—knew that when the son came home he would have to humble himself greatly and be at the end of himself)”; and no other unwelcome thoughts that would make the son never to return.
11. The father cut his son’s speech short. By now he knew his son’s changed attitude, so he turned to a servant and gave instructions to have a huge “welcome home” party for him—you know, the fatted calf and all the trimmings.
12. The father gave the command to “eat and make merry”—just the two things the son needed right then to feel the most loved and welcomed home.
13. To the father, the son had been lost and dead; but now he was still alive and was now “found” in that he had returned home, and that was a cause for a great celebration. No wonder it says earlier in the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin that there is great celebration in heaven when one sinner repents!
So this story is packed with good information for us fathers as we can only imagine what it was like for this father to welcome his son home, and to have set such a good example for us to follow.
Prayer: Thank you, O Father in heaven, for Your great love when I was lost, dead, and rebellious. It was Your great love that drew me back home to your loving embrace and gave me incentive to return home for a great celebration and feast—and what a feast it has been for these 50+ years since I came running home. It overwhelmed me at first, and it still overwhelms me to think of all that You have yet prepared for me throughout eternity. I love calling You, “My Father!” Amen!