Begun To Live
Thoughts of being independent, meeting friends, meeting women and partying filled my head. Most guys my age were already married and living on their own. Here I was living with my older brother and father on the farm. What a loser!
Sure, the farm was big and beautiful. We had a few hired hands. What can I say? My father was very wealthy. He was a unique man of profound character. I loved him. I really did. His love for me was all I ever really knew. But there was a whole world to experience. There had to be more “out there” for me.
It was the worst morning of my life. He was sitting alone on the porch rocking in the chair I made him. It was his favorite place and thing to do. As I approached him I felt like I was going to the gallows. “Dad…I’ve been thinking. You’ve always been good to me. And it’s been great but …well…it’s…it’s time for me to move on… off on my own now.” I felt like I was learning to talk for the first time. None of my words seemed to make any sense to even my own mind. Yet I told my father that I now wanted the money that he told me would be mine when he was gone. I insisted that my decision was final. It was like he had been punched in the stomach. “Son, please don’t leave. You mean everything to me. The only reason I have all this is for you”.
I knew he would get to me so I was prepared. “Look Dad, I’m leaving, ok?! That’s it! So, please give me my share of the inheritance now because I won’t be back.” Slowly he walked to the place where he hid the money under a floor board in his room. Appearing to scratch an itch, it was obvious to me he was wiping tears from his eyes. “Thanks a lot dad. I gotta go now” muttered this being within me I did not want to recognize. Whew! I did it. It was over. As I left, I refused to look back. I knew he’d be watching. I felt like a complete stranger.
The next few months were hell. Sure, I met some women and partied with others. We made jokes and laughed together. We got very drunk. But there was nothing to any of it. I’d wake up and be completely miserable. I felt so different from everyone. I finally had some friends…or so I thought. When the money ran out so did they. I really had no one. I had to get a job. The pay was terrible. I couldn’t even maintain a place to stay. It was not at all like I thought it would be. It was horrible. I was sick with disillusionment. I just never realized how good I had it. I quit a despicable job feeding the pigs of a cruel old farmer because he called my father a liar.
Soon I found myself begging. When no one was watching, I’d scramble through garbage. It got really bad, really fast. What in the world was I doing? What a fool! In an instant of time I came to my senses. I could be with my father. We could laugh together. I could enjoy another rich conversation and smell the flowers and the sweet air coming across the plain at night. Oh, how I longed for those days.
Suddenly I made a decision!!! I would go back! I’d face the humiliation. I spent all his money. I’d fall at my father’s feet and beg him for mercy. Forget about being his son. I’d be thrilled to just be treated like one of his servants. If he… could he… only take me back…As I arrived at the path, leading to the house, I remembered that sadness I felt when I said good-bye. If only I had never left. If only I could do it all over. I was full of guilt and depression.
The distant sound of a slammed door caused me to lift my head. When I looked up I saw my father, running, out of the house. Where was he going so fast? What had happened? I had never seen him run like that. And what were the things he was carrying?
Suddenly… I realized… he was running out to ME! He had seen me coming through a window. Before I could say anything my father wrapped his robe around me and was squeezing me with his strong, compassionate love. Then he dropped to the ground and put new sandals on my feet. I wanted to stop him. I wasn’t worthy but it was obvious he already knew that. Then, in one awesome moment, he gripped my hand and put his own ring on my finger. This was too much for me to handle! My heart just broke. I started weeping. I couldn’t stop sobbing in his arms. How could he love me so much? I had hurt him so bad. Everything I did was not an accident. I sinned against him in a very deliberate and calculated way. He not only forgives me but gives me more than I had before?
As we arrived at the house he called to the servants to prepare a bountiful feast. My brother was standing there. “I don’t get it, father. I stay here with you and work. He goes leaves and wastes his inheritance and you do all this”. Father responded; “Don’t you see, son. You always had everything….But your brother was lost and dead….now he is found and has begun to live”!! My AWESOME father!
This is the heart of God towards YOU my dear friend! This is not a warm and fuzzy children’s story. This Father is real! Only the living Jesus can reveal the Father to you (Mt.11:25). Ask Him! This was the most accurate story Jesus thought to best describe the Character of His Father. To what extent will YOU now respond? You are not a “hopeless case”. The apostle Paul lived the first part of his life as a murderer of Christians. It doesn’t matter how bad or how many times you’ve blown it. You can either make light of the excruciating work of Jesus on the cross by feeling sorry for yourself for how bad you got it. Or you can glorify the Father’s choice to send Jesus by believing His shed blood is more than sufficient for all your sin! Read LUKE 15!