Most of us just don’t get it.
Look at the parable of the ‘prodigal’ son for instance. We’re so clueless we tend to actually miss the whole point.
First off, the teller of the parable never called anyone a prodigal son. We did.
For the sake of those who might not be terribly familiar with the parable of the prodigal son, let me help you out.
A father had two sons. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance. His father obliged him and gave him a part of his possessions. He took everything, went to a land far, far away and squandered it all on worthless pursuits. Eventually he became so broke during a recession he had to work for a citizen of that country, feeding pigs. Pigs!
Things got so bad he actually considered eating the pigs’ food. Then he came back to (part of) his senses: “Wait, even my father’s servants must have enough food to eat, and some left over! And here I am, about to die! Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll go back to my father and beg him to be a servant. I’m not worthy to be a son anymore.”
And go back he did.
Coming home, his father saw him while he was still far away, ran to him, hugged him.
He started with his forgive-me speech, but his father told his servants “Bring the best clothes, put them on him. Ring on his hand, shoes on his feet! Kill that specially fattened cow; it’s party time! My lost but found son was dead, and now he’s alive!”
The elder brother returned to meet a party. One of the servants gave him the lowdown. He was livid! He wouldn’t even go in!
His father came out to beg him. “Dad, it’s not fair! All these years I’ve been loyal to you and not once did you give me even a kid to party with my friends. And now your son, who wasted your money and his life, is back, and the first thing you do is throw him a party.”
His father said “You are always with me, and all I have is yours. But your brother went away. Now he’s back. I think we ought to celebrate!”
End of story.
First off (for a second time), who asks a father for his inheritance while the father is still alive?
Be that as it may, does a son ever stop being the son of his father?
But that’s not even where I’m going.
We all seem to have a problem with the guy who went away and came back. He enjoyed so much grace its annoying!
Recently, I’ve started to see that the elder son has probably more of an issue.
“All I have is yours”
You have an open cheque! You could choose to fill in a small amount or the whole world. You’ll cash it either way.
Grace is that open cheque.
We have received access to everything God has through Grace.
Yet, most of us act as though the ‘other son’, who hasn’t been as ‘loyal’ and ‘faithful’ and ‘righteous’ as we have been, doesn’t deserve the same Grace we have access to.
Like we ever deserved it in the first place.
“What do you have that you were not given?”
My friend calls the elder son ‘the foolish son’. Today the pastor called him “the graceless son of a graceful father”.
The very description of most of us today.
Look at her skirt! So short! And to think she came to church looking like that!
Look at his haircut! I wonder if there’s really a place in heaven for him.
Oh, so your haircut secured your place in heaven!?
These are not issues. We need to refine and redefine our focus. Grace is more than enough to go round.
So enjoy Grace. And extend it to others. Embrace all that Grace came to offer you.
“All I have is yours.”
That’s what the Father says. Don’t wait to see the ‘prodigal’ enjoying grace before you realise that you had an open cheque all along.