Prodigal. What came to mind when you read the title for today’s post? Wayward? Lost? Wasteful? Foolish?
What about repentant?
Two ways Webster’s defines prodigal is:
1: one who spends or gives lavishly and foolishly
2: one who has returned after an absence
If you remember, when Jesus told three parables concerning the joy experienced over being reunited with something that was lost, one of those parables was the story of a prodigal son who asked for his inheritance, left home, and squandered his wealth in wild living. (Luke 15)
There are several discussion points to this parable, but today I’d like to look at the father’s response to his son’s behavior.
And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming, and was filled with loving pity and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
While he was still a long distance away, his father saw him…
The only way I figure the father could see his son coming from a long distance away would be if he kept vigil night and day. Waiting. Watching. Hoping. Praying. All that his son would come home.
I imagine each of us, at some point in time, has wandered away from God. We’ve asked for our inheritance, left home, and squandered what we’ve been given. Maybe not to the extent of the prodigal in Jesus’ story, but we’ve done things which distanced us from God. Because of that, he kept vigil.
Maybe we’ve grieved God when we lied. Gossiped. Cursed. Refused to forgive.
Just as the father in the parable, God keeps vigil day and night. He’s waiting and watching for us to come to our senses and return to him.
Maybe we have loved ones we keep vigil for, and we’re the ones waiting, watching, hoping, and praying.
Wherever we find ourselves, there is comfort in the fact Jesus loves us with an everlasting love that yearns for a relationship with us. He keeps vigil praying for us and waiting for us to come home to the feast he is preparing.
It’s never too late to say, Father I have sinned. Please take me back. God’s arms are always open.
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To further illustrate the point, he (Jesus) told them this story: “A man had two sons. When the younger told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die!’ his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there wasted all his money on parties and prostitutes. About the time his money was gone a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the swine looked good to him. And no one gave him anything.
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired men have food enough and to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming, and was filled with loving pity and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
“His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and you, and am not worthy of being called your son—’ Luke 15:11-21 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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When I came to your site and read your questions, I immediately thought of the prodigal son story in the Bible. I wasn’t thinking that we were all prodigals before we accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation and made Him, Lord and Savior. I love the way you wrote about Jesus waiting patiently with open arms, inviting everyone to come to Him, the source of eternal life. The cool part is that He will forgive anyone who repents and accepts His offer of salvation. There is no greater gift.
Thanks for commenting, Fran. Isn’t God’s gift of salvation for all through our acceptance of Jesus as Savior the most incredible thing ever?