Imagine how you would feel if one of your kids came to you and said they were leaving home and that they wanted nothing to do with you. Oh, by the way, they also want you to give them their share of the inheritance before they go. You’d be devastated right?
I imagine the father of the prodigal son was devastated and that’s what we’re talking about here: the parable of the prodigal son in Luke’s gospel. (Luke 15:11-32) What is astonishing in this story is that the father actually does what his son requests: he sells off a third of his cattle, a third of his sheep, a third of his land, and sends his son to who knows where. Now the son, giddy over his newfound freedom, takes off for new frontiers, but the party lifestyle is pricey. It wasn’t too much longer that his son had spent everything he had which couldn’t have come at a worse time since a famine had also hit leaving him even more in a state of starvation and destitution.
So he tucks his tail between his legs, heads home and during that time, he prepares a speech saying:
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21b)
However, the father sees him coming from a long way off and instead of letting his son walk the walk of shame, he hitches up his robes and races to him. He tells his servants:
“Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.” (Luke 15:22b)
He gives his son the shoes and reinstates him as a son and says you will not be a slave. He gives him his robe, which is the best robe and covers his sin and shame with his own glory and then he gives him his signet ring so that the son can go and do business in the father’s name! The father then says:
“Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:23)
Here’s what I found interesting. The younger son never says, “No dad, I’m not worthy of this celebration and gesture.” The Bible does not tell us otherwise so we can safely assume that the son goes to the party and lets the father celebrate him. Here’s what I learned from this: I don’t think we allow the Father to celebrate us and lavish us with his grace and mercy. I think so many times we get so caught up in our shame that we refuse to let the Father celebrate us.
Are you still dragging around a suitcase of shame? Are you standing outside the door of the party that your Father wants to throw for you? That does not glorify your Father because you bring glory to your Father by allowing him to shower you in his grace and to showcase you as an object of His glory!