On Sunday we began a new series looking at a very famous passage in the Bible where Jesus tells a story about a wayward son. It’s an all too familiar story, but what happens in this story is nothing short of surprising.
Here is this kid – you might know someone like him – who decides that he is going to set off on his own, live his own life and get out from under the thumb of his family. So he says to his father, “Yo, father, what will you leave me when you kick the bucket? Cuz, I don’t want to wait, I want it now and I am outta here”.
Can you imagine how heartbroken this father would have been?
What this “heartbroken” father does, however, is pretty surprising. He divides up his stuff and gives his youngest son his portion of the wealth. The young son gets his stuff together and bolts.
This kid has a great time. He eats out every night at the best restaurants, he goes to the best and most expensive belly dance clubs. He lives well, until a famine hits the country and all his money is gone. All the friends he hosted parties for over the past months are long gone and he is desperate. He is so desperate that he decides to go home and beg his father for a place as one of his servants.
Now, think about this. Say this is your son or this is your brother. He has spent your hard earned money on fast car(ts), fast food and fast women and now he is back. And (surprise, surprise) he’s broke. How would you respond?
The way the father responds is quite surprising. He throws the ungrateful scoundrel a party!!! If I were the older brother, I would be pretty ticked and the question I would ask is, ‘What’s the point of being good? What’s the point of being faithful?”
The father in Jesus’ story represents God and the brothers, either the older or the younger, might be you or me.
If you resonate with the younger brother there is absolutely reason to celebrate. You are loved unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what you have done, what matters is that you are back. And God wants nothing more than the RESTORATION of relationships. God wants to RESTORE a relationship with you! Whoo, whoo! Who wants cake?
But what if you feel more like the older son. You were the good one; the one that continued to work in the fields and supported the family. You were the one that remained. Tough, eh? Well you might be surprised with how this plays out, too.
Join us this Sunday as we look at Part 2 of this series. I have a feeling we will all have reason to celebrate. Don’t miss it!