Technology is a wonderful thing! I was thinking about the days of going on a road trip with the family, and someone would have to be the designated map reader. They were the person who was in charge of the map and in making sure that we were taking the right roads. That was not an easy task, especially when you traveled at night and in the dark. It makes me smile when I think of all of the times that folding a map back up ended up in a frustrating mess. When MapQuest came along, it was like nirvana. You could put in your destination, print off directions on one page, and it was simple and easy to use. Sometimes I still print off those directions when traveling just in case my GPS doesn’t work, which leads me to the next innovation of GPS. Anyone who has a smartphone can get directions in real-time. If you make a wrong turn, you get notified, and new instructions are sent to you to keep you on the right path. Wouldn’t that be nice if we could have this same technology applied to our life?
Last week (HERE), I talked about running away from home when I was a child. The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 talks about a wayward child who wanted to leave home and strike out on his own. This is where the GPS warning light should have started flashing and trying to recalculate because he was making a wrong turn.
The son took his part of his father’s estate and then squandered it with wild living. Let’s stop for a minute and think back to us being young and away from home for the first time. It is easy to read these verses and “tisk-tisk” over the son’s decisions. But, once you are not under the watchful eye of a parent, it is easier to do the things that we know they would not want us doing. Drinking, partying, smoking, sexual encounters, cheating, stealing, and lots of other things become easier to do and not get caught. Did you go away to college? Then you know what I am talking about.
What happens when the money runs out? What do you do if the parent cuts off the funding? When you find yourself without money, you get a job to try and support yourself. Being young and unskilled, you will take any job that you can find, and the pay is usually low. The son in this parable took a lowly position and was put in the fields feeding the pigs. This same son had been privileged in his father’s house. He had been given food, had servants to wait on him, and never been in need before. Now, because of a wrong decision, he was feeding pigs slop. Not only was he feeding the pigs, but he was longing to eat the pig’s food because he was starving.
15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
The great thing about making a bad or wrong decision is, you can recalculate and turn around. Just because you messed up, doesn’t mean that you can’t turn around or take a different path. The son remembered the days when he was in his father’s house. The servants had plenty of food to spare, and here he was starving. So, he decided to go back home and ask for forgiveness. But, because he wasn’t sure how his father would receive him, he was going to go back and ask for a job as a servant. He didn’t trust that his father’s love would be enough to welcome him as a son, but he figured that his father wouldn’t let him starve.
17 “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! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
Turn around. Did you know that the first two words in the Webster dictionary for the word REPENT is “to turn?” Deciding to turn back is when repentance starts. The son goes back home and repents to his father that he has sinned against Heaven and his father. He begs to be taken back into the household, but not as a son, but as a servant.
20 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.
This verse should make every one of you reading this start to celebrate! This was the same father that, in my post last week, was standing at the door with tears running down his cheeks. One of the things that I love about this verse is that the father didn’t wait for his son to walk all the way back to him. HE RAN to his son. While the son was a long way off, the father saw him!
I am sure that you ready know the ending of this parable. The father welcomed the son back into the household, not as a servant, but as a loved child. He clothed him in the finest robe (which was probably the fathers), and he had a ring put on his finger (which was perhaps the family signet ring), and he had an enormous feast prepared to celebrate the son’s return.
We all have taken the wrong path, but we don’t have to stay on that path. We can turn, and “our” Heavenly Father will see us from a long way off. He will run to us and welcome us back with open arms. All He asks is that we “turn” around, we repent, and we take the action of walking back toward Him.
LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!!!
Have A Blessed Day!