Everything I have is Yours

Hi everyone, David here.

The parable of the prodigal son, as recorded in Luke 15, shows God’s relentless and unconditional love for us. A man’s younger son asked his father for his share of the estate, packed his belongings, and took a trip to a distant land where he wasted all of his money on parties and fast living. About the time that his money was gone, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He finally came to his senses and realized that his father’s hired men at least had food to eat. He decided, “I will go to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”

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While he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming and was filled with loving pity. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. Perhaps the reason he saw his son coming while he was still a long distance away was that he was praying for his son’s return and spent much time each day watching that lonely road on which his son would return.

Even as the son was making his confession, the father interrupted to instruct the servants to kill the fatted calf and prepare for a celebration – his lost son had repented; he had changed his mind and had returned to become part of the family again.

And He is jealous from me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all
~ David Crowder

God demonstrated His love for us before we were Christians, but this story makes it obvious that God continues to love his child who has strayed far from Him. He eagerly awaits for us to return to him – into His arms.

This is really only half the story though.  What about the other son? Very little attention is given to the third character of this parable.

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In Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God  he focuses attention on both of the brothers, he gives more time to the elder brother. Keller wants the reader to know that a self-imposed standard of morality is not the same as truly knowing and following Christ. He wants those who are outwardly religious to search their hearts to see if there is an inner faith that goes along with the outward conformity.

Keller goes on to challenge Christians with the fact that churches tend to be havens for the older brother kind of believer. “Jesus’ teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main our churches today do not have this effect.

The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners doesn’t have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.

We will be writing more about this compelling parable in the coming months. Stay tuned.

May you this week encounter the Father’s love. May you find your refuge in His arms, in His embrace, and in His shelter. May you feel his relentless pursuit of your heart. May you know that whether you identify with the younger or elder brother in the parable, that God’s invitation is still the same – You are Always With Me, and Everything I Have is Yours.

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