By Jerry Gillis
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!'........So he got up and went to his father." Luke 15:17,20
You know the story - the parable of the prodigal son as some call it. I like to call it "The Portrait of the Father's Love." Either way, you know the story.
Young man gets itchy for his coming inheritance. Dad gives it to him. Young man goes out partying, in the words of Prince, like it's 1999. Young man blows everything and is living on the bottom side of life (don't know if it gets much worse than the pig pen). Young man comes to his senses and decides to return home just to work like a slave. Young man is blown away that Dad runs to him, kisses him, puts a robe on him, gives him a ring, and throws a huge barbeque for him. Older brother gets hacked off. Dad shows him love too. End of story.
Ok, so I condensed it and did no justice to the narrative itself. Go back and read the whole story and live in it (Luke 15:11-32), then look closely to see where YOU are in the story. My guess is that you can find yourself there (and don't say that you are the father).
This story raised some questions for me, like:
How much good can I handle? Can I get to a place that I have more available to me than my character can sustain? Do I ever ask for more than I am prepared for?
But this story also gave me some incredible truth, even hope. I learned that I have available to me more than I realize from the Father, and I have the potential to squander it if independent of the Father, but to know and receive the Father's indescribable love alleviates the fear of both.
Maybe the core thing that I learned is that it is senseless not to get up and go to the Father (note v.17,20). When the Father offers that kind of love, that kind of forgiveness, that kind of restoration...it lacks all the sense I have to stay wallowing in the mud. In fact, when we stay in the mud, we dull our senses. Coming to Father makes our senses live again.
Think of the senses mentioned in this creative piece:
"Touching the Father's love is a sweet embrace, a big ole bear hug, a kiss on the face
Hearing the Father's love is a symphony of soul, it's music enough to make me whole
Seeing the Father's love is an irrational treat, a ring on my finger? shoes on my feet?
Tasting the Father's love is the choicest of fare, the swine are forgotten with a feast in the air
But Knowing the Father's love, ah, that stands alone; Yes, knowing the Father's love - that's what brings me home."
It's senseless not to come to the Father.!
—Jerry Gillis is Lead Pastor of The Chapel at Crosspoint in Getzville.