Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adopted, Chosen, Belonging, A Part of the Family OR Hired Help?


The Prodigal Son. Since I was a child I have heard and thought about this parable many times. I have identified with all the players, to varying degrees over the years. It is a mecurial passage in the scriptures, because its message to you, personally, varies depending on your vantage point at any given time. Sunday I was perusing several chapters in Luke, and came across it. I wanted to read it and glean something new, something I have missed until now. That was my prayer.

Later that evening, I was reading more of my "What is Your God Language" book, by Dr Myra Perrine. The portion of the book that I was in was describing the crazy, wild unconditional love which our Maker has for us. Also, how we miss out so much on comprehending and receiving His love for us. There were many wonderful quotes she included besides wonderful insights she offered. The theme seemed to dovetail into what I had taken away from my time in Luke 15 earlier in the day. Then I dropped in on Bunny 's blog for a visit yesterday. Imagine my surprise to see that she had been really, truly blessed in hearing a wonderful message on grace (undeserved favor) based on Luke 15!

Here's what I got. Though, I am still processing this and will be for a long time, I think. Consider this an invitation to ponder with me.
  • "And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." I have read these words countless times. I have heard them quite a few. I am sure many of you have as well. But, Sunday the emphasis was on considering the Father as Our Father, and the sons as fellow believers. And, I can tell you, we were a sad, droopy lot in some respects, but not without hope! Think with me about the approach of the Prodigal here, we always tend to think he was humble, and rightly so. But, the thing is - we stop there. We don't usually (or maybe it was just me) consider that beyond the right beginning of humilty, a healthy relationship could not go forward, couldn't develop without the Prodical son receiving the grace his father so eagerly extended to him. And then assuming his rightful place of responsible sonship at his Father's side. He was made for so much more than hired help! So are we!

  • What do I mean? Well, after the apology, after the extended grace, after the celebration, there would be work to be done. As a son, as a functioning part of the family, he had work to do to help his father carry on the family business. As do we. If we are too busy feeling like we belong in the pig pen, or in the back row, waiting for the moment we might feel worthy of what has been bestowed on us, we will never be able to function in the capacity which The Father intended from the beginning and intends to this day. Because, remember we talked about He doesn't change His mind.
  • Ok, 'nuff said there, we are still pondering there. Now let's look at The Other Brother! Lookee here: "And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends" Hear with personal ears what The Father said to him, and says to us today "Son, THOU art EVER with me, and ALL that I have is thine."

I don't think I can add to that, nor do I need to. What more can be said? We are adopted into His family, joint-heirs with Christ. We are ever with Him, He lives inside of us! All that He has is ours! What The Other Brother is lacking is what we many lack in the family of Christ. The right mindset. Its not about our performance. Its all about who He is in relation to us and who we are in relation to Him. We are His, He is ours, we belong to Him, we were bought with a price. The Other Brother was "ever with" His Father, and was so focused on his list of do's and don'ts, and so caught up in his performance instead of enjoying the relationship that was his for the enjoying! The Other brother was so focused on his performance, that he missed out on the pleasure and joy of his rightful relationship with The Father. He was thinking more like a hired hand. We don't want to fall into that trap. It's not about what we do for Him, Our Father. Its ALL about who He is to us and for us.

There is so much more that could be said by deeper and swifter minds than mine! Yet I am content to ponder this for awhile. What are YOUR thoughts?

8 comments:

Tiffany said...

Good reminders here. My friend Christy @ Mommy Brain wrote a post on the prodical son just this week. I think you'd enjoy it and her story. Good to have you back! Missed ya!~Blessings!

Denise said...

This is wonderful, be blessed.

Christy said...

this is a story near and dear to my heart. How neat that it be so integral right now and then I come read it on your blog!

Have a great day!

StaceyStace said...

As a returning prodigal, I know that Satan wants nothing more than for me to never be useful again. NEVER. And he will gather all the "older brothers" he can find to convince me of it. I just pray that I won't be a sibling who tries to block other sinners from His grace, because it is just too easy to justify in our flesh sometimes.

Joyful Days said...

The Prodigal Son is one of my favorite places in the Bible. There is a fabulous book called The Cross and the Prodigal by Kenneth E. Bailey that is devoted to the story and looks at what it says based in the culture it was first told to.

When I read this book I wept to see how much God was willing to do, at what cost to His Good Name He was willing to risk, doing what at that time would have been considered shameful for a father to do to bring His child back home.

We have such a merciful, magnificent God.

Blessings,

Julie

Tiffany said...

Oh, BTW- I have an award for you over at my blog! ~Blessings!

freetofly said...

TO ALL -

You ladies rock, ALL of you! Each of you in a specific and unique way! This post (like many others) has helped me write these words on my heart and make them mine a little more. Several of your comments led me to further writing on my heart. Just wanted to say thanks for who you each are, and Christ in you the hope of glory!

P.S. Julie, I have added the book to my short time reading list! Thanks for the great tip! :)

xoxo,
Maria

Sharon Brumfield said...

God did some speaking this summer to my heart about this story.
So many times I missed the fact that the Father was standing at the gate waiting for the son to come home. He was longing to see what He knew would return?
Reminds me of the scripture that says...Bring them up in the way that they should go and in the end they will not depart from it.
There is so much in this story for the body of Christ.
I think sometimes when people wander away they think of God moving on and leaving them behind. But it is not so....He is so intimately involved with us.
This is what I am learning so deeply right now.
good stuff Maria :)
I'll be back when I can.

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!