Earlier today I took a short walk in the beautiful Autumn sunshine here on the Isle of Skye. I was thinking of nothing in particular at the time when a thought came to me from from nowhere. And it was this – ‘The Prodigal son did not return to his father for love but for economic reasons’.
How strange – but that’s how it was – just these words. However, when something like this happens to me I feel I have been given a hint of something deeper, something more profound – something I need to pursue a bit further.
Some reading the title of this Post will be outraged, others offended and perhaps a few curious – but the title catches the essence of what I believe is at the heart of it all.
It is true of course – the prodigal son as we call him, only returned to his father because the party had ended and he had run out of resources to fund his hedonistic lifestyle. (If you are unfamiliar with it the story is recorded in Luke 15:11-32.) He did not return with the intention of restoring himself to his father as a son – but as a servant – a servant who may just be able to reap something of the benefits of the father’s house.
The father on the other hand had no interest in welcoming home a servant – only a son! And when the son blurted out his prepared speech the father did not answer him with words – but smothered him with kisses (that is the meaning in the original text). The Passion translation catches the scene well –
He (the father) swept him (the son) up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him over and over with tender love.
I want to ask a question – ‘Are you living as a son/daughter of The Father – or a servant?’ I suspect in the current crisis in which we find ourselves servants are struggling – while sons and daughters are resting. Of course that is not to say that sons and daughters never serve – but they do not live from the place of service – but from the place of sonship (daughters included!)
I suspect that many christians have never known the place of the intimate love of The Father – and I believe we live in a time when God is calling us loudly back to that place. When we find ourselves in a situation, as many have, where we cannot ‘do’ anything for God – many feel unfulfilled, frustrated, depressed even. Yet the truth is we will all come to a time when the things we ‘do’ will be over. When that time comes, as it has for many, we need to be familiar with the place we spoke about in out last Post – the place of rest and repose – where we allow ourselves, as sons and daughters of our loving Father, to rest in His love as He delights in us with gladness, calming all our fears and singing His love songs over us. (Zephaniah 3:17)