And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 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.’” Luke 15:11-19

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

We started with a lost sheep, then moved to a lost coin, and now finish with a lost son. In each instance we see the heart of the one receiving back that which had been lost. However, with the lost son, there is a reciprocal connection in that we see the heart of that which has been lost as well. In addition, we see the heart of a second son who was not lost and of course the condition of his heart reveals the central reason Jesus shared these three parables in the first place. So, we have the cry of the heart of the lost son who wants to come back to his father, we have the cry of the heart of the father who wants his son back, and we have the cry of the heart of the older brother who is appalled with what happens in the hearts of his brother and his father. We must see these three heartbeats very clearly so we can discover how our own heartbeat needs to be impacted.

From the moment his younger son left, this father desired for him to return. The father did not know if his younger son would ever return, but regardless, it would always be his desire to have it be so and it would always be up to the son to do so. Unknown to this father, his younger son comes to the spot where he desires to return to his father and he then acts on that desire and returns home. While this is what the father and the younger son both desire, we can be sure that the desire of the older brother is for his younger brother never to return. The lost son does not know what response his father will have at his return. He knows he deserves nothing, but hopes for the bare minimum of at least being received as a hired servant. Our Heavenly Father does not desire that anyone remain lost, but rather He desires that all be found. Like the earthly father in our story, our Heavenly Father’s response to anyone who returns to Him is to welcome that one with love, compassion, an embrace and a kiss. How could He do anything less for one who returns when there are so many who remain unwilling to return.

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, there are so many people that are just out there on their own caught up in their choice to go it alone. I really want a heart like yours that longs for their return. Help me care more than ever before. Give me such a heart of compassion for them that it freely spills over into all my involvements with them. Forgive me for all the times I haven’t cared about those who are out there. Forgive me for letting bad stuff spill out of my heart toward some who are out there because I have been bothered by them and have taken offense at them. I want my heart and life to help them return to you and not hinder them in any way. Amen!