Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wanderer

In many of his teachings, Jesus focused on God’s love for the sinner and the happiness felt by all of heaven, when one individual decides to change and give his or her heart to him. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 reiterates that point.

A man had two sons, and one day the younger approached his father requesting his portion of the family’s wealth. The father not wanting to deny his child gave to him what he desired, and soon after the younger son left home with his belongings for an adventure into the world. He travelled to a distant country and being na├»ve, spent all his riches on revelry, sex and wastefulness.

After squandering all he had, a great famine came upon that land and he became a vagabond. With no family or friends to help him, he had to labour for someone tending swine and ate the husks fed to those animals. He was an outcast, but sometime later he came to his senses, realizing that even his father’s servants lived and ate better than he did. With that in mind he decided to journey home to grovel at his father’s feet, and no longer being worthy of the title ‘son’ he would work for him as a servant.

So he left for home, but while he was a great distance away his father saw him and ran to greet him, and despite his smelly and filthy state, the father embraced him tightly and kissed him. The son’s request to serve was ignored and even before he was able to complete his statement, his father called for the best robe, a ring and shoes to clothe him. A large feast was then prepared by the servants to celebrate the return of this long lost son. However, not everyone was pleased by this turn of events. After a hard days work, the elder son came home to discover merriment and dancing for the return of someone that disgraced the family’s name.

Refusing to enter the house, the father came out and pleaded with him but in anger the elder son said, “All these years I remained loyal, I was not once disrespectful or ungrateful to you, yet I was never given a small banquet to be festive with my friends, but as soon as this pathetic son of yours had arrived who spent your hard earned income on prostitutes, a big celebration was thrown in his honour.” With love his father replied, “My son as you are always with me, everything I own is yours, but it is right for us to be happy and celebrate the return of your brother who was dead, but is alive once again, lost but is now found.”

Here we are told the true meaning of unconditional love which is the love that God has for our fallen race. When we decide to turn to him, he meets us halfway to embrace us, accepting us regardless of our present condition; regardless of the wrong we have committed, and even if others disapprove of our willing to turn our life around or do not accept our sincerity, God sees the heart, he understands and he will cleanse us.