“ Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.’ Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!“
My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15: 11-32
“Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son to make a simple point: never mind what you’ve done. Just come home,” ~ Unka Glen
How often do we think we are unworthy of forgiveness? How often do we think we are damned? Who are the ones who keep telling us there is no hope? How often do we fail? How often do we get lost in the wilderness?
I have really good news for you my friends. I have been right where you are more times than I can count. I have had people I trusted and admired tell me I am doomed for darkness. When I was growing up lost in the wilderness of labels and stereotypes I would often hear this story.
I would hear the Parable of the Lost Son. It was always one of my favorite stories in the whole Bible.
It touched on that subject of what it meant to be cast out into the world, and be judged by those around you for what you have done. It was a story about a son who turned his back on his father. A story about a son who squandered away all of his inheritance, and found what it was like to be unworthy. He got lost along the way as he fought the wilderness of labels and stumbled in the valley of despair. This son never thought he could ever go home and face his father ever again.
The best part of the stories that Jesus told was that all who would listen had a good ending. These stories were told to the ones who needed to hear them the most. Jesus never did or said anything to anyone by accident. Every word he spoke was to the ones who needed to hear them.
Here we are more than 2,000 years later and we still need to hear those words. I believe we need these stories more now than ever. I believe that Jesus knew that when he told them. I believe he knew that each and every one of us reading his word would need to hear these stories at the exact moment we came across them. These stories were not just for the people lucky enough to follow him thousands of years ago, but for us now! They are for all his lost and broken children who just need to come home.
This story of the lost son who came home to a loving father was something that stuck with me all my life. I had grown tired of the labels. I could relate to the lost son who was out there roaming the valley, and not doing what he was told. I felt worthless and unloved by a Heavenly Father. I felt like I had failed him over and over again.
I had longed for a home my entire life. Growing up we moved a lot. My single mother had to raise my little brother and I the best she could. She had to go wherever the work was, and had to raise on a single income household. Often I would be ridiculed and bullied for being the poor one in school, and I would face that at every new school I went too. I was always the strange poor girl who didn’t have a dad, and never had any nice things.
I would spend a lot of time owning those labels that were thrown at me, and not being able to find my place in the world. I would come home crying about all the mean boys and girls who tormented me in school. I would be angry that I couldn’t be “perfect” like them. I spent way to much time trying to fit into a world that never wanted me around.
I understand that my mother did the best she could for my brother and I. I love my mother and admire her strength and courage of raising two children completely alone. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world, and I look back on my childhood now with only good memories. My mother took us on a lot of adventures and would surround us with her love. That means more to me than nice things and worldly labels that come and go.
Then I realized that you can find a home inside of the story of your life. You can find a home in the good memories of your childhood. You can find a home in the words of our Lord. You can find a home in the love of friends and family. You can find a home in the small acts of kindness from a stranger. You can stop roaming in the valley of despair and break away from the wilderness of labels.
You can be like the lost son in the story Jesus told to those thousands of years ago. You can stop running away from a Heavenly Father who loves you. It doesn’t matter what you have done, Just come home.