Do you remember being gifted with money for birthdays or special occasions when you were a child? What did you do with your ‘windfall’? For me, my instinct was to first imagine all the things I could squander it on and the better life I could have with my newly found fortune.
In the naivety of my youth, I could neither see past the instant gratification of this gift nor understand the true cost of things. I had not matured enough to see that after today’s pleasures, tomorrow's needs would come calling. Thankfully, my parents would ‘save me from myself’ and apply wisdom by putting that gift to good use.
In the parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter fifteen, verses 11 to 32, we learn about a young man who asked for his inheritance before his father’s death and then blows it all on the instant gratifications of the day. At the end of his ‘whirlwind adventure,’ he is both broke and broken.
Not only is he foolishly separated from his money (Proverbs chapter 2, verse 20), but he is seemingly separated from the loving relationship of his father, who gave those gifts to him. As my dear sister would say, "Sin always promises more than it gives, takes you further than you wanted to go and leaves you worse off than you were before. Sin promises freedom but brings slavery."
John chapter 8, verse 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
This parable continues with introspection and action. This son evaluates his destitute, indentured situation and then compares it to the love that his father shows for those in his care. (Luke chapter 15, verses 17 to 20) He then begins his journey back home with expectations of what his reception should be.
He even writes and rehearses a script for reciting on his arrival home. However, his loving father showers him with mercy and grace, when he welcomes back this lost son into his home with jubilant celebration.
This is the perfect picture of our Heavenly Father’s love for us, His earthly children, who could become lost in and enslaved to this world and its false promises, after squandering His gift of freedom. He welcomes us back by showering us with mercy and grace.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve:
Psalm chapter 51, verses 1 to 2 says “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
Grace is getting what you do not deserve:
2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 9 says“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time...”
There are many lessons we can apply to our lives from this parable. At some point, we may find ourselves as either the separated lost one (the son), or the one showing mercy to another (the father).
However, what I hope that we have taken away, is that we serve a loving Father who not only gifts and blesses according to His PURPOSE and needs, but He also showers us with His undeserving mercy and grace. He knows the shortcomings of our flesh and He provided for it with the death of His Son, so that we wouldn’t be forever separated from Him because of our choices.
John chapter 3, verse 16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Natalie is a marketing manager by profession, and she also serves as the communications specialist at her local assembly, Hope Church, in Barbados. She loves the Lord and is passionate about helping others to reach their full purpose and potential in Christ.
Natalie, her husband Fabian and a few friends also share thoughts and devotions concerning Christ on their website www.mymotivationalmedia.com.