Many of you are familiar with the Luke 15 story of the lost son who squanders his father’s wealth and then returns to him after hitting rock bottom. This story is a parable. A metaphorical tale told by Jesus as a picture of the unconditional love and grace of our heavenly father.
I have heard this story many times, but the other day I heard it again and a line stuck out to me that had never before. After the son found himself amongst pigs, unsatisfied and empty with all the world afforded him, he makes the humble decision to return to his father. He wasn’t exactly expecting to be welcomed back with open-arms. He would be grateful to have a mere servant’s job in his father’s household after his behaviour. ‘So he got up and went to his father’ (Verse 20). This is the part I saw in a new light – ‘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’.
WHILE HE WAS STILL A LONG WAY OFF – Sometimes we really do fail to fully understand the nature of God. Like the Prodigal son, we can think that we need to have it all together, before we are worthy of receiving the Father’s love, welcome and reward. We can feel like we are still a long way off from where we should be, and still a long way off from who we want to be… but God in his compassion, looks at us WHILE WE ARE STILL A LONG WAY OFF… and HE RUNS towards us!
You may have just come out of the pig slop of life. Your situation may look a long way off from what you know it should be, but the good news is that as your heart turns toward Jesus, he runs to meet you where you are at. You don’t need to go the whole distance to find him. You don’t need to climb your way from salve to son.
You don’t work towards Jesus, Jesus already has his arms around you and is kissing your cheeks, pig-smell and all! Then in true Jesus style, he brings out the robe, ring, and sandals for you (symbolic of sonship, inheritance, and kingdom authority).
What parts of your life do you feel ‘still a long way off’? Meditate on the reality that even in that, Jesus has his arms around you, celebrates you, and rewards you.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.