He said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine,” Luke 15:31.
“His grace has given us such unfailing encouragement and such bright hopes,” 2 Thessalonians 2:16 NEB.
Poles apart, the two sons troubled the father — one so open and fun-loving, the other withdrawn and scheming.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 excitement 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 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 restoring.
Before the angry youth lowered his accusing finger, the father did all that he knew. He entreated him, reminding him of who he was, 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 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 of reconnecting to missing members of God’s family 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 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.
In our quest here in the Southern Union to reconnect with the scores of thousands of our missing members, I remind us to bear in mind that Christ taught His disciples that the amount of Divine attention given to any object is proportionate to the rank assigned to it as the creation of God. The value of people, the estimate God places upon us, is revealed in the cross of Calvary. – RCS
Ron C. Smith, D.Min., Ph.D. President of the Southern Union Conference
Southern Union | March 2021