Luke 18:11-24 tells a familiar story of the prodigal son who took his share of inheritance and squandered it on clubbing, drinking, drugs and gambling (that’s in todays terms of course). As our pastor read these verses yesterday morning, my mind went to my own story as I’m sure you have yours as well.
Verse 17-18 says: But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’
He came to his senses! It was a wake-up moment! I’ve seen this happen in my own life and my children’s life. I’ve watched countless people come to the altar, weeping as they came to their senses and returned to the loving embrace of the Father.
I don’t care how hopeless it looks, I don’t care how far they’ve gone from God, what sin has touched their lives, if you keep believing, if you keep calling their spirits back to God, they will come to their senses. You may not know where they are, but God does and He’s pursing them.
This last portion has always made me cry: So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
I hear the Father say, “It’s time to celebrate! It’s time to party! I see you coming down the road. Nothing can separate you from my love. I won’t hold your past against you. I won’t give it a second thought. When you return, I’ll show you what plans I have for you and they won’t look anything like the way it used to be. I’ll give you a new identity and the authority you need to get the job done.”