Yesterday we finished the fall sermon series, “Jesus the Storyteller,” by talking about the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Like all Jesus’ parables we looked at over the past couple months this one has some important lessons for all of us.
Sunday afternoon I did what I normally do every Sunday (no, not take a nap! I’m too “amped up” from Sunday morning to do so!) – I reflected on what I said and didn’t say in the sermon. Call it “post – game analysis” or something, but it happens every week. And, I often wish I could have everyone come back so I could say something more clearly or differently. Does stuff like that happen to you?
Anyway, my Sunday reflection yesterday was about the loving father in the story of the Prodigal Son. Remember, the loving father represents God in the story. As I thought about what he did and didn’t do towards his two sons it hit me that he chose not to force his will on either son. He didn’t stop his younger son from leaving home, “going to a distant land and spending his money on wild living.” Nor did he force his older son to come and join the celebration and party when his younger brother “came to his senses” and returned home.
Which is exactly the way God relates to us. God doesn’t force his will on any of us. He gives us freedom to choose what we will do with our lives. He does, though, do with us just what he did with the two sons in the story – he waits, longs and desires us to come home just like he did with the younger son . . . and he comes to us and invites us to join the party with others who have come home, just like he did with the older brother.
God, our loving father, loves us and one of the ways he shows it is by not forcing his will on us . . . and waiting, longing for us to come home and want his will. Do you?