“He said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine,” Luke 15: 31.
Poles apart, the two sons troubled the father: one so open and fun-loving, the other withdrawn and scheming. How could he help them find values that counted? What would make the younger care about others? How could the older see himself as totally self-centered and calculating?
The younger came stumbling up the path in rags. The father had thought this moment through, but this went beyond his worst dreams. Where had the gaiety of youth gone? Who had put fear in those eyes? His heart cried out for this sorry boy, back from a bitter lesson about life. “Run to him, then. Have compassion. Hold him to you.”
Later he would chuckle over the son who did not know how to connive and scheme, yet came with what he thought a cunning plan. Fool his father by asking to be a servant? The father read him before he ever uttered the words. He didn’t need a job; he needed love and restoration.
He had no plan at hand to deal with the older boy. How could he have predicted the haughty, furious response? How could that scheming mind go so far as to reject brotherhood? Did he not see that if he had no brother, he also had no father?
Before the angry youth lowered his accusing finger, the father did all that he knew. He entreated him, reminding him of who he was and what he had in store for him. “Son you don’t need a kid. You never were one for a party and friends. What you need is my love. Surely that should be enough.”
When the barriers go up, what can God do? He can see the need. He knows the devious thoughts. He reads the sorry defenses. Schemes of repayment or service to pacify the urgent sense of guilt, He brushes aside. He has the answer to them. Let Me give, He says. Don’t you try to give just yet. Let me be the giver.
For those who will have nothing of the celebration of God’s love, the task grows harder. The father entreats and goes on entreating. “All that I have is yours,” He says. “I am no poorer because I gave to your brother. I grow rich by giving my love. Won’t you take your share?”
The greatest gift we can extend to our prodigal brothers and sisters, in our quest to reconnect, is the love of God. It never ceases to amaze me when I observe the great God of the universe at the creation of human beings. He didn’t need to get His hands dirty. He didn’t need to stoop by an unnamed stream. He had already proven what He could do. When He clapped His hands there was light. When He called, the trees jumped forth. At the will of His mind, the birds of the air and the beasts suddenly appeared. But, for you and for me, He stooped. Divine knees got dirty. Divine fingernails became clogged with clay beneath them while He, step by step, formed our nostrils and our high brows. Then He leaned His clean face next to our dirty one, made of the dust of the ground, and we became living souls. What an amazing demonstration of His love.
Finally, “The gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart … He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work,” Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 254. –RCS
Southern Union | September 2021