Repentance, forgiveness, and relentless love are perhaps some of the most frequently learned lessons we glean from the Parable of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15:11-32]. I have read and heard this Scripture passage time and time again, always focusing on the aforementioned lessons, each of which are profound in themselves. Until recently, I had totally glossed over a very critical point in this parable, but as God so often gently gifts us with new awareness when we are spiritually ready to receive it, He graciously allowed me to read this parable with brand new eyes.
The joyous return and acceptance (the repentance and forgiveness) of the Prodigal Son hinges on one humungous thing. It hinges on one act of free will. Without choosing this one thing, the homecoming celebration with the fattened calf would never have happened because the Prodigal Son’s heart would not have lead him home. What was the turning point?
Humility was the turning point.
Humility was the precursor for the Prodigal Son to be open enough to seek and receive the offering of repentance and forgiveness that our loving Father endlessly offers us. Humility is the place where our hearts are truly transformed.
Our pride blinds us and prevents us from really reveling in the true and lasting riches that God the Father offers to us. Those true and lasting riches are ultimately our stake in Heaven. Not only is this lesson displayed through the Prodigal Son, but likewise through his brother. When the Prodigal Son returned and his father, with deep love and compassion, welcomed him home in a grand style, his brother who had been loyal and faithful was outraged. This outrage, this pride, blinded Him of the riches he had at his fingertips every single day living side by side with his father. In the same way, God the Father offers us the riches of Heaven every day here on earth. He asks us to walk by His side, to draw near, but our pride and human weakness are constantly battling to prevent us from partaking in God’s Kingdom.
Like the Prodigal Son found himself in prideful desolation, and as his brother found himself in a fit of jealousy, we too may find ourselves in an undesirable state of life. So I ask you, what will you choose at your crossroads? Will you enter into humility and prompt a turning point in your own life?
Be bold and know there are no shortages in the Kingdom of Heaven. Our good Father desires to lavish His riches upon us if only we will draw near and relinquish our pride. Enter into humility and gain a taste of Heaven.
*Scripture Reading of The Parable of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15:11-32] below.
Luke 15:11-32 – The Parable of the Prodigal Son
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.'” So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”