Sunday, March 06, 2016

Our terrible freedom

Departure of the Prodigal Son - Alexandre Bida
Departure of the Prodigal Son - A. Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 15:11-32

" 'Father, give me…' The younger son journeyed to a far country … 'I will arise and go to my father…' But he was angry and would not go in…" Luke 15:12,13,18, 28.

In her book Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham relates the following:

"Dad, I'm not at all sure I can follow you any longer in your simple Christian faith," stated the clergyman's son when he returned from the university for the holidays with a fledgling scholar's assured arrogance.

The father's black eyes skewered his young son, who was "lost," as C.S. Lewis put it, "in the invincible ignorance of his intellect."

"Son, the father said, "that is your freedom. Your terrible freedom."

- Told at our supper table by a friend - p. xvii

Our reading today, Jesus' Prodigal Son story, is full of evidences of "terrible freedom" by the many choices made in it:

  • The younger son chose to ask for his inheritance early.
  • The father chose to give it (to both sons - Luke 15:12).
  • The younger son chose to leave home, spend his inheritance on pleasure, then get a job in a piggery.
  • From there he chose to come home.
  • When he came home, he chose to come with a humble, "I was wrong," attitude.
  • The father chose to keep an open heart toward his son.
  • He chose to meet him with open arms and throw a party to celebrate his return.
  • The older brother chose to stay home.
  • He chose to be dutiful and helpful.
  • He chose to be bitter about his father's happiness and the party Dad was throwing on his younger brother's return.
  • He chose not to attend the party.
And that's where we leave him—still outside the party…another prodigal, really, in his own home.

No matter what our personality or what our life circumstances, we have choices. Choices about what our relationship with the Father will be, how we'll handle our resources, and what sort of attitude we'll have toward others. Let's let this story be a call to examine the multitude of our everyday choices and consider where they may be taking us.

Dear Father, help me to make wise choices at each fork in the road, so I don't end up in a place I had never planned to be. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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