10/26/14 “Deciding to Run from or to Our Father” (Daily Bible Reading: Luke 14-16)

“But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants” ’ ” (Luke 15:17-19).

Do you like having to make decisions? Some do not like decisions because they are afraid of making the wrong decisions. However, a large part of our lives involves our having to make decisions. Most importantly all of us have to decide, “Am I going to run to God or away from God?”?

Christ spoke about a parable about of young man who made 2 critical decisions in his life. His first decision was to leave his father. As Christ began this parable He said, “"A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood” (Luke 15:11-12). After making this decision to leave his father, the young man then foolishly wasted the inheritance given to him (Luke 15:13). Furthermore, he began to experience the consequences of his poor decision as he begins to suffer great poverty and destitution (Luke 15:14). Desperately, he begins working for a pig farmer and was so hungry that he actually longed for the food which the swine ate, but no one gave him anything (Luke 15:15-16). This young man now finds himself in a terrible situation as a result of his bad decision to run away from his father. He had underestimated how difficult life would be apart from his father.

However, to the young man’s credit, he does not foolishly cling to his past decisions. Instead “he came to himself” and begins to consider making another decision (Luke 15:17). He considers and decides to return to his father (Luke 15:18-19). He shows poverty of spirit (cf. Matthew 5:3) as he is realizes his own sin and how undeserving he is as he is willing to be treated as simply a hired servant of his father. However, just as he had underestimated how difficult life would be apart from his father, he now underestimates the love and compassion of his father as he returns home. Christ says, “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The young man acknowledges his sin which he had committed against his father, but the father is so overjoyed at his son having come home that begins to throw a feast (Luke 15:21-24).

When a person chooses to run away from God, like the prodigal son, they will often experience how difficult life is to live apart from their Heavenly Father. Removing oneself from God’s care, often results in one finding themselves struggling to survive in a world that leaves them lonely and scared as they realize how many in the world will not give them anything (cf. Luke 15:16).

The great news is God does not wash His hands of us when we make such a foolish decision as to run away from Him. Like the father of the prodigal son, He lovingly waits for us to “come to our senses” (cf. Luke 15:17), acknowledge our sins (cf. Luke 15:18-19), and decide to run back to Him. When we do so, we often underestimate the incredible grace, mercy, and forgiveness that will await us as God opens His loving arms to us. I rejoice that I do not have to be “stuck” in the bad decisions I have made in the past. Today, I will decide not to run away from, but to my Heavenly Father”!

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).