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17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

Culturally speaking, what the younger son has done is tragic. His demand for his portion of his father’s estate was treating his father as if he were already dead. Asking for his inheritance and then leaving him created a gulf between them that would be hard to cross. This gulf is what would cause the son to pursue being a hired hand for his father, because he couldn’t see a way for his father to forgive him, bridge the gulf, and pull him back into the family. And yet, despite this understanding, the son returns. But the son wasn’t considering the love his father had for him.

As parents, we are given an incredible gift from God in our children. This gift from God is really a great, years-long learning experience. It’s the ultimate in continuing education. Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn is that of letting your children go their way, whether or not where they’re headed is where we believe they should go. Our love of them is intense, enough to thrust them into the air and watch them fly, gathering their own life-joys and life-bruises along the way.

If this young son is like us, he’s practiced what he’s going to say all the way back to his father’s house, his words and actions tuned to fit the gravity of the situation. As he comes into view of his destination, his father sees him and runs to him, setting aside all manner of cultural norms, to grip his son in his arms. As the son tries to implement his ‘plan’, his father interrupts him, and in a few short words, draws the gulf closed and brings his son back to him and his family. The son has indeed returned home.

Does this remind you of anyone in your life? Is there someone that you could be the ‘father’ to? If there is, be like this young son’s father and run to them, grip them in your arms, and say the meaningful words to bring them ‘home’ again! [/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Rich Obrecht  

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