The Lord reminded me about the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15:11-32,  this was the younger of two sons who had gone to his Father, saying, Give me my inheritance now.  He didn’t want to wait until the Father died. He wanted it NOW.  Of course, we know that’s the same as saying, Father, I wish you were dead so I could have my stuff.  But his Father granted his request, and parted his goods to his two sons.  The younger packed up all his stuff and left for a far country, and squandered his inheritance living large, and about the time he went broke, there came a famine in the land.   Nobody there would help him.  The once “Rich and Famous” man about town was now feeding someone else’s pigs, and it says he would have eaten the husks that were given to the pigs, but nobody gave him any.  It was bad, folks. This is your cue to say, “How bad it was it?”  REAL bad.  Whew!  And it stinks, too!  I can just see him writing a short note to his Dad;

“Dear Dad, No mon, no fun, your son.”   Well, if his father would have been like many of us, his reply would have been this short reply; “ Too bad, so sad, your Dad.”

But that wasn’t how it turned out.  And in case you haven’t figured it out by now, this story is not about the prodigal son, but his loving Father.

Here the young man was, broke, most likely homeless, and smelling like the pigs he had been feeding. Ever been to a pig farm?  Ooooooh, yuk!  That smell just clings to you and won’t go away. And hungry.  Don’t forget about hungry. You can almost hear his belly growling.

Let’s just pick it up in verse 17;  Jesus said,

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Well, we’ve all done some pretty stupid stuff in our lifetime.  This guy was no exception.  But he is not totally stupid. The stink of living with the pigs will clear your head.

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

This is where it starts sounding like most of us.  Somehow, in spite of the fact that our heavenly Father tells us that He loves us, we seem to be stuck in “beggar  mode” like this young  man.   Religious people teach us we should be (h)umble, so “umble” we can’t even say it correctly, and go to God our Father, not as sons and daughters, but as worthless, outcast beggars.  And we have learned it well, haven’t we?    Yup!  Let’s go on;

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Whoa!  What’s going on here?  The Father running to the wayward son and kissing him?  Surely not!!  No!! No, no NO!  He should be more dignified than that.  Surely he should make the wayward son come begging and crawling to him.  After all, that boy’s the one who went  wrong, not the Father.  Let’s read on;

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Like we go blubbering and bawling to God,” Oh, I messed up again, so it’s ok if you disown me, I’m just a worthless  scumball, not worthy even to pray to you.”  All the while trying to be real “(h)umble and (h)oly”, right? (REMEMBER, if you’re “humble”, you don’t pronounce the “H”, right?  Well, the Father wasn’t going to hear any of that “disown me” stuff from his son.  There had been enough suffering already.

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Whoa, wait a minute here!  That’s not how you reward a wayward child, is it?  Shouldn’t you make him suffer to teach him a lesson??  What kind of Father treats a wayward child like that??

I’ll tell you what kind of Father treats His children like that;  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER!

            Now, most of us have been hurt at some point in our life, and we try to be forgiving of those who have hurt us, but admit it, wouldn’t you really like to see them crawl and suffer a little?   Well, that isn’t our heavenly Father’s way of doing things.  The Father in this story, and don’t you know the Lord Jesus was talking about HIS FATHER, wants you to know His kind of love.  He doesn’t love us as the world loves, but He brings the word LOVE to a whole new level. 

            Our heavenly Father’s love is so intense, that He does not want us to grovel about how sorry and pitiful a person we have been.  He know we mess up, but when we repent, we never hear another word about it from Him.  It’s forgotten.  He calls for the “BEST ROBE”, and puts it on us, even while we still stink like the pigs!  And He puts a ring on our finger, even!  Why a ring?  Because it lets everyone know we are beloved, and  belong to the family, with all the benefits that go along with it.  It makes me think of a wedding ring, that symbolizes love without end.  When a man marries a woman, she becomes heir to all he has, even though she has done nothing to earn it.

            The Father called for shoes to be put on his son’s feet, even though he was in clear sight of home.  Here he had walked all the way from a foreign land barefoot, and surely could have walked the few remaining steps to his Father’s house barefoot, as well.  But the Father would not hear of it.  He wanted the rest of his son’s journey to be as pleasant as possible.  Why?? That’s just the way He is!

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

      If you have  messed up, and repented, and returned to your heavenly Father, why not accept that robe, ring, and shoes He wants you to have?  Stop your blubbering, child of God.  Your heavenly Father doesn’t want to hear it.  He’s glad you’ve come home!  It’s party time!! 

 p.s.  If you’re still in the “pig pen” and even THINKING of returning home, don’t delay any longer.  You’ve suffered enough already.  Your Father isn’t enjoying this separation any more than you are, I can promise you that!  Go home!  Don’t worry you have nothing to bring. He has everything you need, what are you waiting for?

He’s more interested in having his child back than what you smell like.  He has no sense of smell, anyway.  To Him, you will smell just fine.   

Oh, another thing;  It’s impossible to leave a SON and come back a SERVANT!