bits from bob....
Luke 15 is familiar but unfamiliar--straightforward but simultaneously strangely symbolic.
Whether we identify with the son who struggles with life away from home, or with the son who struggles with life at home, we must read with discomfort, for we are challenged to change. We are urged toward fresh understandings of God and self. We are asked to consider how we treat God, and how God treats us.
I. Many people use the Father.
The younger son wanted what the father had but did not want the father. He wanted a clean break with home--he packed up all of his belongings when he left.
When "he came to his senses," some think he changed his attitude toward his father. I am not certain. He would still use his father. "Father has something I can use. He provides for his seasonal help. I know how I can get some of my father's resources--I will ask to become a hired laborer."
Nor should we miss this truth--the older son was also using the father. He to wanted what the father had, but did not want the father. "I have stayed home and slaved for you all these years." As if to say, "I'm just waiting to get what's yours (mine!). You have no right to share what is rightfully mine--especially with this one who has already taken his part."
II. The Father will not be used.
The father's action does not depend upon the sons. When the younger son returns, the father is watching, waiting. Before the son speaks, he greets him with compassion and love. With acceptance, honor, and distinction he treats his returning son to the very best. This parable does not design to leave the reader exclaiming, "What a son!," but "What a father!"
When the older brother confronts and criticizes, the father pleads. When the older brother rejects whom the father loves and how that love is expressed, the father still reaches out. "You are mine, you always have been, you always will be. All I have is yours."
Wouldn't you like to know how the story came out? You do! It has been replayed countless thousands of times. It comes out just as it does in your own life.
Do you know God? Have you seen God? Are you like God? We will not change until we have seen the Father. Consider how wonderfully God treats you.
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