11To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. . . . 18I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’20“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. . . . We must celebrate with a feast, 24for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ . . . 25“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. . . . 28“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. . . .   ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. . . . 31“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Luke 15:11-32

Today pause and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Who in this story most closely resembles you?

Are you the younger son, wandering far from the home of the Father? Desperate, starving, without resources? The invitation is there to return home. The Father watches for you. He has not given up hope; he is not disappointed in you. Turn away from the fruitless life you are living and return to the abundance of the Father’s house!

Are you the older brother, exhausted by slaving in the Father’s house, fulfilling all the duties, checking off the boxes? The invitation is to come into the house as a son, not a slave. Enjoy the provisions of the Father. Celebrate his love for you. Wallow in the peace and joy of his presence!

Are you the father, patiently (or not so patiently) watching for the return of a wayward soul? The invitation is to foster the unconditional love God has for all his creation. Continue to watch, fatten the calf, prepare the feast! (I find it interesting that the father had a calf fattened. How often do you think he went through the process before the son returned home? He didn’t give up and neither should you!)

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