“There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” -Luke 15:11-22
It is a riches to rags story. It’s a story about an arrogant, demanding young man. It’s a story of redemption.
The young man demanded that his father give him, prematurely, his “share” of the inheritance. How rude! How uncaring! He could not wait for his father to die and then receive his inheritance. He wanted it now.
The father graciously agreed and gave his younger son his share of the estate. We assume it was a sizeable gift.
But the young man went off to some exotic place and squandered all he had in wild living. When a devastating famine hit the land, he ended up tending pigs in a field. He had nothing to eat, nowhere to stay, no one he could go to for help.
Amid this disaster, with his life crumbled down around him, the young many had plenty of time to think. His pitiful circumstances brought him to his senses. “Even my father’s servants have enough to eat” he though to himself. So he headed back home, all the while working on his speech which he would deliver to his father. “I am no longer worthy to be considered your son. I have sinned against you and God.”
But the father had been waiting for his son to return. How many days did the old father stare down the road, looking for some sign of his son? Then one day he it happened. Far off in the dusty distance the father saw a ragged figure, making his way up the homeward road. It was the lost son. The father, full of compassion, ran out to meet his son, embraced and kissed him. Then he called for the best robe in the house and the family signet ring for his finger. “This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
In the great pandemic currently engulfing us, people have had a lot of time for reflection. Disaster has a way of forcing people to reconsider their priorities. Maybe you have come to the realization that you have strayed a long way from home. You feel alone, with no one to help. No, I don’t mean you’ve wandered from your earthly home, but from your spiritual home. You’ve left your heavenly father for this world and wild living. You’ve left behind His church, your prayers, the Bible. God says, “Come home.” Like the father in the story, God has been watching and waiting for you to turn and head back home. He will run out to meet you and he will greet you with a warm embrace and a kiss. He will cover you with his robe of righteousness, forgiving all your sins. He will give you your place in his kingdom and he will call for the celebration to begin.
Much has happened in your life. Now its time to come home.