Lenten Reader | Day 24


Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“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.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 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 15:11-24
It’s funny how our perspective changes as we enter different stages of life. When I was a teenager, I remember reading this and placing myself in the son’s shoes. All I could focus on was how obnoxious he appears to be as he asks for his share of his father’s riches and how quickly he seems to blow through it while doing frivolous things.

Now, as a father of three boys, I assume the position of the father. None of this is intentional. I think it is just because I’m in this stage of life. Our perspective changes over time.

Twenty years ago, I was angry at this son because I thought he was destroying his relationship with his father. Today, I am heartbroken for the father. Can you imagine how he felt as his son walked off with a third of his net worth? If my son came to me and said, “I know you’re not dead yet, but I’d like to have my inheritance.” I would question where I went wrong. I would be heartbroken at the fact he placed more value in what I had than in who I was.

Too often, we fall into this trap. We sometimes go to God like we are on Shark Tank, pleading with Him and trying to make a deal. Sometimes we forget that this is the God of the universe! He desires for us to know Him first and foremost. He desires to embrace us.

-Bill Betson