I have kept a document saved on my computer ever since I was at Harding titled “interesting thoughts.” I started writing down (or typing out) these thoughts as I began to study more and more for many of my classes as a Preaching student in the Bible department. Some of these thoughts are my own, many come from commentaries, books, songs, newspapers, etc. written by others who are probably wiser than I. As I began to think about an idea on what to post today I decided to read through the thoughts I have cumulated over the last few years. There are many I could’ve grabbed for this post but one stuck out more than the rest. Many of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The younger of two sons gets greedy and wants his inheritance from his dad early (basically wishing his dad was dead). He then takes that money and squanders it and is left to eat the food given to pigs. He then remembers the servants his father has and that a life as a servant for his dad would be better than his current state. He heads home but rather than being received as a servant, his father runs to him and welcomes him back as the son he lost. A son who was lost has now been found. And a lot of us leave the story there. But it continues and we get a little snippet of the older brother. The older brother has stayed home. He’s worked hard. He was faithful to his dad. And he’s angry at the way his brother was welcomed home. This leads back to that interesting thought I mentioned earlier. I do not remember who wrote this as I forgot to write down the authors name or was unable to find it but its goes like this:
- You can be with God and far from God. you can obey all the orders but be completely lost. You can be involved with all the Father’s issues but not be involved with the Father. The elder brother has obeyed everything but does not know God. there wasn’t just one brother lost, the elder brother was lost too.
There were two brothers lost in this story (important here to note that if you did not know before but the story is a metaphor for our relationship with God and God’s love for us as his sons and daughters). One who did wrong, one who did right. One who stayed with dad and one who ran off. One who listened and one who ignored. Yet both are lost. Those who get to the point of seeing the older son as lost often then harp on him a lot for seeming to not know his father well. But what I see is two brothers on different ends of the spectrum who do know the father, who don’t know God. The younger brother doesn’t understand the great love the father has. The older brother does not know the great love the father has. They both don’t know the great grace the father has. They both do not understand the great mercy that the father has. The older shows this in his response to the way his younger brother is accepted back at home. The younger shows this is thinking his father would only welcome him as a servant.
How many of us don’t know these attributes, these characteristics of our God? You and I, we, can do everything perfect but if we do not know God’s love, mercy, grace, etc. we do not know God. How many of us believe others do not deserve the love or forgiveness of God because they don’t obey God as good as we do? How many of us believe we don’t deserve to be welcomed back as a son or daughter because of our sin? God’s love is so great, His mercy is so great, His grace is so great. God loves you, He desires for you to know Him not just obey him. He desires you to come home to Him. Whether you see yourself more in the son that ran off or the son that stays behind know that God loves you. Know that God forgives. Know that God welcomes and invites us into life with Him. Seek to know and obey God.