The story of the prodigal son is quite well known, but usually in light of the one, the youngest son, who was lost, wanted his own way, left home, lived reckless, but eventually returned (Luke 15). But what about the father’s backyard conversation with his eldest – his son who ‘appeared’ to get it, but we’d discover did not?
Let me first say, this father in our story is less concerned about fairness and more concerned about life.
For you see, grace is unfair. Always has been and always will be. It just doesn’t seem right that one son, who didn’t want to be home, gets more attention than the one who stayed home – and the same can happen today in God’s church?
Which begs the question – do we ever feel we deserve something more than another? Are we quicker to criticize that which we don’t like, than we are to rejoice over what God does – lost people coming home (Luke 15:7).
The fact is, both of his sons were lost – the walking dead. Regardless where they were, each of them had lost their way. My dad used to say, “The far country can be right where you are, if you’re not walking with Jesus.”
But as we know, only one of his boys confessed, believed, and received his father’s love.
Now, there’s an unspoken question we need to consider that this father asked his oldest, and I’m asking all of us as well – will we dare to be loved as only the father can, or will we continue to insist on being loved as we feel we ought to be?
My friends, this is really the ultimate question. For when we attempt to qualify His love, we deflate and cheapen ours. For it is never in our court to decide who and how God loves.
Listen, when we learn to accept God’s amazing grace – His unfair, wild, and inequitable as-it-can-seem- sometimes grace – we get a glimpse of true redemption. For God redeems only those who realize that they cannot make it without Him. Think about that? It seems that the gospel is only good news if we need that good news.