Which One Are You?

4 minute read

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. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke‬ ‭15:17-24NIV‬‬

I am blessed to be the only girl between two brothers (mild sarcasm intended). When we were younger, my older brother was—lets say—-strong willed. Every time my parents would overlook something that he did, I would get upset. Self-righteous, much?  When I would voice my grievances, my mom and grandmother would remind me of the parable of the prodigal son. I didn’t care too much for the story because I empathized with the brother. Then one day, the day I found myself in the shoes of the son, I realized how important this parable is.

For starters, the parable teaches us what we must do to be saved. Verse 17 says, “when he came to his senses…” Change begins with us. No one can do it for you. Sometimes we’ve strayed so far that we have to have an ‘aha’ moment to bring us back. To the parents worried about a wayward child, pray that he/she comes to their senses!

Next, the parable says that the son went back to his father. The father does not go to the son. God is a gentlemen. He does not force Himself on anyone. We must go to Him. That’s what repentance is! And guess what? That’s what abstaining and fasting is all about! People often think we fast for things or we abstain because it’s custom. There’s such a deeper meaning. We fast to turn down our flesh and go back to our Father. God is waiting for you to come back!

Then, notice how the father responded. He did not even acknowledge the son’s confession. He called for his servants to bring the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger, and put sandals on his feet. Now y’all, the son had literally squandered all of his money doing wild things, was living in a hog pin, and eating “husks that the swine did eat” (whatever that is!). He returns home, I’m pretty sure he’s smelly, and the father dresses him in his finest garments? Why would Jesus be so intentional about the details of this story? Because this is how our Father treats us! No matter how many years you’ve lived wildly, how much money you’ve squandered, how smelly you are, our Father covers our dirt as if it never happened.

The robe, ring and sandals are a sign of God’s grace. The son didn’t ask his father for this. He asked to be as one of his hired servants. In yet, the father dresses him and restores him back to his place in the home. There’s nothing like grace we don’t  deserve, didn’t ask for, but still received. Grace that God gave to you, in-spite of you!

The parable ends with the father celebrating his son’s return. This is important for two reasons. First, Heaven rejoices when a soul is saved! Our Father has a party every time we return home! Secondly, each one of us will get the opportunity to be both the son and the father at different points in our lives. As the son, surround yourself with people who are ready to celebrate your return, not those who remind you of the hog pin and husks. And when you’re the father, remember that forgiveness covers–the dirt, shame, and the smelly stuff!

Can you humble yourself enough to come to your senses? Will you be compassionate enough to exemplify the grace you enjoy?


About the author: Janea Dillon

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