May 31, 2010
"For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate" (Luke 15:24 NIV).
Friend To Friend
Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke chapter fifteen. It's what we've come to know as the story of the prodigal son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. But then he had an epiphany. He came to his senses.
"How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him? ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father" (Luke 15:17-20).
And where was his father? He was panning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. While "he was still a long way off," the father spotted his son on the horizon. Filled with compassion, he picked up the edges of his robe and ran. He didn't wait for his son to come to him, grovel at his feet, and beg for forgiveness. There were no "I told you so's." No, as soon as the father caught a glimpse of his son, he dashed toward his boy, smothered him with kisses, and welcomed him home.
"But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate" (Luke 15:22-24 NIV).
If you remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what? There will be those who resent the fact that we get another chance as well.
Bible teacher, Beth Moore wrote: "Big brother won't mind if you come back as long as you hang your head and wear your shame. But when God has the audacity to give you a little dignity back and you dare lift your radiant face to heaven in liberated praise, big brother may be appalled!... It's pride that can't celebrate with a prodigal-come-home. Folks who won't celebrate are still kidding themselves into thinking they did something right to be loved by their Father."
I say, let him be appalled. Nothing makes some people angrier than grace. Big brother is invited to the party too and it's his decision whether or not he wants to join in the celebration. I'm just glad he's not the one in charge.
God is a God of second chances. When we stray, He pans the horizon waiting for our return. When we do, He runs to embrace us, throws His arms around us, and celebrates with the heavenly host shouting…Welcome home!
Dear Father, thank You for welcoming me home when I stray. I pray that I will never be like the older brother who resented the prodigal's return. Thank You so much for welcoming me with open arms and rejoicing over me with singing.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Who are you more like in this story?
Are you like the prodigal who has walked away from God?
Are you like the older brother who looks down on those who have fallen and feel they need to not be welcomed back so readily?
Are you like the father who longs for the prodigal to return, celebrates when he/she does, and restores him/her to a place of dignity.
More From The Girlfriends
This devotion was taken from Sharon's book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding peace and purpose in the pain of your past. If you would like to learn more about how to turn pain into purpose, misery into ministry and hurt into hope, this book is for you!
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.