From A Distance – Good News for March 6

6 03 2010

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable.

“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’“

The Daily Path: While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.

Like the youngest son, I, too, was a long way off when the Father saw me walking back towards home. He came running to me with open arms and glad heart. Since my return from the pork farm, I have been showered with His grace. God’s celebration feast has been a daily occurrence in my life.

Trust me friends. At this moment you may feel like a very long way from home, but our Father is really right there at your side. Just take a tiny step and He’ll see you. I know this to be true.

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2 responses

6 03 2010
Daniel Tomlinson

My depression has been my pork farm. I pray daily that my life will not just be a life of survival, but that there will be a celebration in and around my life. I don’t want to perpetuate Henry David Thoreau’s “quiet desperation”, rather I want to be fully alive making the most of every opportunity.

I am who I am right now because of the choices I have made, but that implies I can embrace more of the goodness and greatness of God because I can make better choices.

I serve a loving Father, and He’ll run out to meet me too. Thank you Father.

7 03 2010
Dr Joy

This is a wonderful story of hope for those “younger sons” who have sowed their oats and want to return home. But there is another message.

I read a book recently called the Prodigal God. The book’s premise is built around this same passage about the youngest son who asks for his inheritance and leaves his father and older brother. The prodigal son returns home after blowing all his money after sowing his oats and living lavishly. The father welcomes him home with open arms. The older son however is angry and won’t attend the feast the father throws for the prodigal son. The moral of the book is that the older son is actually as bad if not worse than the younger son in the eyes of the Lord for his behavior. While the older son has lived a perfect life, abiding by all rules, the book reasons that the older son does this as his own way to control God. The older son expects the riches and rewards of his father and of heaven for being so good and can’t understand how the younger son can also get the same treatment after his lavish lifestyle. The older son is in fact living the way he is selfishly for the rewards not because he loves God and wants to be with God. I found the book interesting because it shows how common the two types of behavior are in the world. The book advocates a third behavior that is modeled by the father in the story.

I’m glad we have God’s forgiveness because the perfect pathway to God is not easy!

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