The Running Father
Heavenly Father, You are my God and my loving father and I come now to You as Your loving child.
Read Luke 15:11-32
 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.  “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants 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 servants.’  So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “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.  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’  “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is striking or important to you about this parable?
Our culture is blighted by fatherlessness: whether physically or emotionally absent, many fathers operate out of their own brokenness. The father in this parable, however, is very, very different. The young son’s demand for his inheritance is by implication a wish for his father to be dead! Incredibly, the father grants this request and the son parties his way through the cash. When self-preservation kicks in, he returns home to work as his father’s servant. He appears on the horizon and his father, “filled with compassion,” runs toward him. Middle Eastern elders never ran, but this father does. This undignified act of outrageous love is a shame-bearing initiative: the father makes a way for the son to be restored. He dismisses his son’s attempts to earn his way back and welcomes him with extravagant generosity, which the elder son (whose external obedience has been exemplary) finds nauseating. Again the father bears the shame, this time going out and pleading with his elder son to come in. The lesson is simple: God is a radically committed, loving Father.
If you have drifted away from God, or allowed your heart to become hard towards him, return to him today.
Lord God, how grateful I am for Your constant, unfailing love for me. May I always treasure and honor it.
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