Several weeks ago, SharpShooter (my husband) was unloading groceries from the car when a bedraggled cat walking down our snow-covered country road caught his eye. It couldn’t be – could it? “Pippie, is that you?” Upon closer inspection, stooping down to the dirty, scruffy feline, he realized it was indeed, Captain Pip! Years ago, fifteen at least, this black & white cat used to visit him daily in the barn for morning milking of our dairy goats. SS would carry dry cat food from the house in his pocket for Pip and he would squirt milk into the cat’s mouth while he milked! Lo and behold, after not seeing him for years, Captain Pip had come home – dirty, battle-scarred, looking poorly – but home! A can of tuna was opened and a soft, fleecy blanket was placed on the porch rocker. If Pip was going to visit, we saw fit that he would be warm, comfortable and fed. Our resident pet, Sam the dog, was not happy about this at all. He took every opportunity to bark and intimidate this new visitor.
The Parable of the Lost Son – Luke 15:11-32
I have many scripture favorites: verses, chapters, books and so on, but this particular parable is by far my favorite and I will explain why. Now, at sixty years of age, I have experienced being each of the characters Jesus used to teach his lesson.
The younger brother… Is this all there is? I’ve been good and followed all the rules and this boring life is all there is? I’ve tried it your way, now I’ll try it mine. I’ve been under your thumb long enough – I am outta here!
Ah…the younger brother; the young faithful wife and mother whose husband was unfaithful; the placed-for-adoption child all grown up wondering, “Why me?”
Sound familiar? Tired of eating with the pigs and playing in the mud? Papa’s waiting. Open arms. New clothes and shoes. New jewelry. GO HOME!
The older brother… Always lived right, never got in trouble. I am never late to work in fact I get there early and leave late and now, passed over for the promotion. I used to do those bad things when I was young but now I’ve changed my ways and so and so should too. Holier than thou. Legalistic. Always right. If the doors are open I’m in church. Here comes the offering plate the person next to me will be impressed to see me put in this one hundred dollar bill.
Sound familiar? Tired of striving? Sick of the stress it takes to be perfect? Papa’s waiting. Open arms. Metal shears to release the shackles of perfection. A flag of freedom. GO HOME!
The father… Raised your kids right? Took them to church? Taught them right from wrong? Set good examples? Asked for forgiveness if you didn’t? Loved unconditionally? Never judged them? Provided well? Went to all their school functions? Helped with all those science projects? I was the best mom/dad and this is how I’m rewarded?
Sound familiar? Go buy some new clothes for that adult child. Get out the family jewels and your best China dinnerware. Go buy all his/her favorite foods and begin planning the comin’ home celebration. Get out those binoculars, they may be “far off”, but just be patient. THEY’RE COMIN’ HOME!
…and the father said, “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is (now) found. Luke 15:32
Regardless if you are the big brother, younger brother, or the parent…ENJOY THE PARTY!