“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” ~Luke 15:20-21 (NLT)
Today I finish up where I left with humility found in the story of the lost son and would like to answer the question that I left off in my last Freedom Fighter, “So why is this a cool parable?” Well I think the biggest thing I get outta of it is the forgiveness given to the prodigal. You can heap all the ugliness you want on the shoulders of the prodigal but it all comes off with his father’s forgiveness. But it is very easy to maintain a certain animosity towards the prodigal son, after all, he wasted his inheritance and he ain’t getting that back any time soon. We all get a bit aggravated when someone wastes what we earned to give them…don’t we?
However, the father made the decision to give his son his share and in this day and age that just might go down as the “norm” but back in the 1stcentury it was wasteful. The society surrounding this family would have been appalled to see the father running down the road to love on his son. No matter how much he missed him this boy still squandered his father’s earnings. And that society was so steeped in what The Law said, how The Pharisees interrupted it, that it would not see the forest for the trees in what was going on. If they would have just remembered what went on back in The Garden, when their originals parents were “naked and ashamed” maybe, just maybe, they would have seen humiliation being flipped into humility. But they were too busy being…offended.
Ya see the moment the son comes back into the picture the father can now speak to his son. I’m sure that before the “prodigal living” actually took place the idea of it had been nicely harbored in the heart of the son. Ever been so stubborn over something that you couldn’t be reasoned with it going a different direction? (Tell me no…go on…I dare you!!) Well this is where I see the younger son. Having been a prodigal myself I know that once my mind was made up to do this act of “riotous living”, the coals were thrown into the furnace and the train kept-a-rollin’ all night long (sometimes into the wee hours of the morning) and when I woke up from this little adventure regret was on the back burner. Until spiritual famine got the better of me and a need to have faith kicked in.
Andrew Murray put it like this, “Humility and faith are more nearly allied in Scripture than many know. See it in the life of Christ. There are two cases in which He spoke of a great faith. In the first instance, the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home.” At this humility, Jesus marveled and replied, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” (Matt 8:8,10) In the second case, the mother humbly spoke,“That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table.” And the Lord answered her, “Dear woman, your faith is great.” (Matt 15:27-28) It is humility that brings a soul to be nothing before God that also removes every hindrance to faith.”
And this is what really makes the parable of the prodigal so cool. It shows how it is gonna take a complete empting of self to bring one to feel humility (and NOT humiliation), to find the faith within ourselves to ask for forgiveness and to receive grace and mercy. Simply put in YHVH’s Word…” Trustin the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” (Psalm 37:3-4) Yes sometimes one has to travel through the wilderness to find the end of their self but it is good having the promises of YHVH make themselves worth the journey? Today take a moment and understand what you have been saved from by making Jesus Christ LORD and SAVIOR. Faith and Humility can make this walk well worth the journey. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married with two adult children (you may remember them from summer staff) and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ.
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 112; Proverbs 21
Daily Quote: “Humility makes the soul fear that it would dishonor Him by not trusting Him wholly.” ~Andrew Murray
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalms 32:6-7
Read past entries in Chris’s “Prodigal Humility” series:
Prodigal Humility III
Prodigal Humility II
Prodigal Humility I