Who among us escaped our youth without an indiscretion? The story of the prodigal son, if we make him the focus, is a common one. But from Dale’s perspective, looking at this as a tale of “The Running Father” turns it into an extraordinary epic adventure.
This matters, because I am suggesting that we must fight with all our spiritual weapons to keep the following truth in mind in order to avoid assaulting our virtue to the point that we become unrecognizable as a kid of God.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men
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 men.’ So he got up and went to his father.” Luke 15:17-20
Notice the following while remembering that the point of all this is to help us remember who WE are in God’s kingdom: He came to his senses, but that did not mean he was transformed. This is a big deal. He had a moment of clarity, but I would suggest that he lacked vision. Notice how he spent his time practicing his “speech” - trying to figure out a way to get his father to hire him as a servant. On first blush, this may seem humble. But I would suggest that it is at some level an insult to his father. He is assuming that his father will need some kind of negotiated settlement for a return home.
Next, notice that he got up and went. This is also a big deal. He took action. Perhaps he was worried about his reception, maybe we are right in saying his moment of clarity has not morphed into a guy with a vision. BUT. He returned home. He had some sense about him. He realized that his father treated his hired men far better than he was treated as a hired man in a distant land.
Clarity helps us wake up to the fact that we have a problem; vision may take awhile to acquire. As we wait for vision, it is a lovely thing to get up and go. How might you be frozen with indecision, regret, shame, or guilt? Consider the clarity of this young man. He chose, the moment he got up and went, to believe that his father was the man he had always been - generous, giving, willing to suffer the shame of his community for the sake of giving his son his inheritance. This is who God is; this is who he can be to each of us.