“…and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” -Luke 15:13b

“He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating,
but no one gave him anything.” -Luke 15:16

Jesus paints a vivid image of this younger son’s journey from abundance, and excess to utter need and desperation. From the comfort of his father’s home to the allure and decadence of the far country leading down into indentured servitude with the swine.

When I read through the Parable of the Prodigal Son, I usually quickly wrap up this part of the story to get to the happier parts of Jesus’ story. Why would we want to dwell on such a wretched existence? I have never received an enormous amount of wealth from my earthly parents, and I cannot relate to spending time rolling around with pigs desperately hoping to eat whatever they have been gobbling up. The Pharisees listening to Jesus tell this story also would have felt a disconnect with this foolish young man’s experience. One of their thoughts (and even mine) may have been that this son simply got what he deserved. If you are going to waste all you have and disrespect your family of origin, what else should you expect but isolation and destruction?

The reality is that, yes, our sin does separate us from the Father. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:1-3, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

God gave each one of us an amazing inheritance. He created us in His image, gave us a wonderful world to enjoy, and each one of us has told Him that our way is better. I was dead in trespasses and the sins and apart from His goodness, I still would be dead in my trespasses and sins!

I’ve grown to love the story of the Prodigal Son because it reminds me of my deep need for God’s grace in my life. Apart from His gentle, life-giving kindness, I would still be living a life separated from my Creator!

How does this truth shape the way we view and act toward those around us? Is there someone in your life that needs to hear a life-giving word from you today? May we love and see others the way our loving Father does – precious in His sight and worth rescuing!

Tim Mitchell
Welcome Specialist

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