Let’s Party: Kids and Parents Welcome Luke 15: 11-32

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Busy parentsThere is not a harder more rewarding job than parenting.  Nothing can thrill us and exhaust more at the same time than trying to keep up with our kids.  Even, when we jokingly say, “That’s not my child” as they misbehave; down deep we are proud they are ours, even when they are not at their best. 

The difficult part of parenting is we’ve no idea how our children will turn out, regardless, how we live before them or teach them.  Though our kids grow up in the same house, eat the same food, attend the same school; they turn out totally different.  So, we sympathize with the father in the parable; he had to be the same parent to two totally different sons.  The only trait the boys shared in common was they called the same man, “Dad”. 

This story could be called the parable of the prodigal father rather than the prodigal son.  The word prodigal doesn’t only mean “deviant”.  It’s also is defined as, “recklessly wasteful or extravagant.”  The parable not only points to the younger son being prodigal in living, but also to the father’s prodigal loving.  It tells us God is recklessly extravagant in party planning for each one of God’s children, and prodigal with love toward each us. prodigal father

God’s prodigal love waits for the arrival the all younger sons who strayed from home. These are the siblings who make sarcastic remarks at dinner, making mom cry and dad furious.  They frivolously followed fruitless passions; depleting the family financial reserves and rebelling against what their family held sacred.  Living high on the hog landed them in a pigsty; living with the hogs.  Still, their parents waited, ready to offer them the same prodigal love they refused when they left home. 

Eventually, younger sons think about the prodigal love of their family.  They recall the way which they were cared for, even in their most obnoxious moments.  The more they think of the love they’re missing, the more they come to realize there was more fortune back on the farm than they had blown running around in a far country. So, they prepare a speech and start back toward the ranch.  Before they arrive to the house, their waiting father runs to meet them.  They’re not given opportunity to speak; the loving parent interrupts with an embrace and new clothes; giving them a party unlike any they had known; looking for good times away from home.

Rebellious SonAre there any younger brothers among us?  We know who we are; we have spent a lifetime or a season seeking to be loved by having a few more things.  The more we had, the emptier we felt and the further we wandered off into the far country.  We come to that unsatisfying place that causes us to long to be in a most satisfying place-our home.

Younger brothers need to come themselves; like a person does when they come out of a coma.  They must stop trying to buy an abundant life.  It as at this point they are ready to hear, the price for the good life has already been paid; they just need to accept it!  Can I get a witness?

God’s prodigal love is available to all older sons who never strayed far from home.  The older son was the perfect child, good grades, disposition, and manners.  He was elected president of everything. He stood close to his father’s side, waiting to do exactly what he wanted.  He was the kind of youngster every mother wants her daughter to marry.  Earned it

Older sons hold an ethic of virtue; they work to purchase their father’s love through service to the estate.  This prevents them from being able to accept their father’s love, which is freely offered and always available.  They don’t believe the father could simply love them.  They feel they have to do something to justify it.  When it came to his father’s love, the older brother dealt with it the old fashioned way, He e-a-r-n-e-d it! 

The older boy didn’t even know his younger brother had returned when he dragged in from a long day on the back forty.  Like any overachiever, he was incensed to learn his no good brother had come home.  He was further enraged to discover they were throwing a homecoming party in his honor!  He earned the party, but his brother got it.  He cried “injustice” though he felt envy.  The party blew the cool he had worked years to develop. 

What about meAre there older brothers among us? We know who we are; we’ve done all the right things, for all the wrong reasons.  We’ve filled our days with goodness, cramming our lives full with little that matters.  We think we’ve earned more than we’ve received.  We’re good persons in the worse sense of the word; with a highly developed sense of entitlement, oblivious to how fine life is.  We need to come to senses, give up our pursuit of perfection; we’re making everyone uncomfortable, even ourselves. 

Older brothers learn to accept what is already theirs; realizing they can’t manufacture what God gives freely in life.  They come to place where they realize they can only embrace what is offered. Can I get a witness?

Most of us would prefer the older brother and we would to let the younger one have a piece of our mind.  Don’t waste time choosing up sides for there are parts of both boys in all of us.  Sometimes we waste the gifts we’ve been given in life; and other times we try hard to earn respect and love.  Either way, we are pursing ill-fated choices; separating us from the recklessly extravagant love of our Creator and Sustainer.  We fool ourselves into thinking we can make life by our own hand; either by compliance or rebellion.  We fail to see all our Heavenly Parent has-is ours.  We need not grab for it or work for it; we were born at the party.  Both want to be loved

The parable invitees us to look deep within; recognizing each of us shares something in common with these brothers-We each want to be loved.  Jesus tells us our heavenly father has graciously offers a prodigal love to both those who are good at everything and those who are good for nothing.  Whether we think we are making God proud or sad, God waits for us to join the party; reveling in the fine fortune of a abundantly blessed life. 

The parable is the gospel in a capsule; affirming God’s prodigal love never gives up on us, no matter how far we wander or how lost we become.  God is reckless enough to love us extravagantly and waits to throw us a party when we come home or come to ourselves.  We don’t have to be prodigal; we have a prodigally loving God who passionately offers all we need to live an abundant and fruitful life.  This is the lesson of the Heavenly Parent.

Children Dancing and singingThere’s something to be learned from children when they are at their best.  Children are examples of the same kind of passionate prodigal love that is pictured by this father.  A child can easily forget who is around and suddenly start to move their feet to a dance.  A child will raise their voice without a request, cleansing their windpipes.  When we get older we are bit more reluctant and self-conscious with our passion, concerned what others might think if we appear to be recklessly extravagant, like a child.

We can be like the child gives away her ice cream because they feel bad for the crying child next to them.  It takes a childish attitude to passionately love those who have wandered off, or who don’t know what to do with love freely offered.  Let’s be more childish in passionately offering the gifts of our lives; trusting God to provide just enough, even though we seem to be giving it all away.  It’s not easy giving it away when others question us.  Party

We who have prodigal children whom we’ve offered prodigal love know of the risks.  We’re willing to be hurt in offering this crazy kind of love because we can do no other.  We’re ready at a moment’s notice to start up the party music to be sure our passionately prodigal love is felt and seen by our child who has come home or come to their senses.

Whether we’re prodigal father or the benefactors of prodigal love, we’re all able to join in the party of God’s endless love that can cause us to sing real loud as we move our feet.  God is the Great Host of the Party.  As we close the service today let us sing with gusto to a recklessly extravagant prodigally loving God, how majestic is God’s name in all the earth. 

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Published in: on August 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi! I am very interested in the artwork you show here of the father and son–do you know who did it? I am an editor of a Christian newspaper and would love to use this piece in a column. Please let me know?

    • I am sorry to say it has been to long. However, thanks for the interest in the page

      • Ok, thanks anyways. I enjoyed perusing your blog. If you are ever interested in writing for a publication, please contact me!

      • I would be glad to offer. Yet, most of my post are related to life of piety and what it’s like to be pastor with boots on the ground, meeting the challenges of this 21st century. Not sure after looking at your page if that is what you are looking for to publish.

      • I think that’s exactly what I’m looking for! Could you send me a contact email or could you email at monica@christiancourier.ca?


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