One of my favorite stories in Scripture (and let's face it, they are all my favorite stories), starts like this: "There was a man who had two sons..."
Perhaps you have heard this story before? It's about a man...well...who had two sons, and one of them decided that he didn't want to live at home any more. Honestly though, when you think about it, isn't that the way its supposed to be? After all, we read scripture that says: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
It seems as though we were meant to take off and fly on our own...to leave the nest. But that's not really what happened in this story. Not only did the boy want to leave his family, he told his father, "Give me my share of the estate."
In other words...I want my inheritance now...even though you're not dead yet, dad.
So, the boy went off on his own, and did life his own way. He partied, spent time with women, drank, and spend all of his money. He squandered it.
Did you know that the word "prodigal" actually means wasteful?
Growing up, I always thought that it meant the "returning" son. But when I got to seminary, and I actually looked up the definition for myself, I was floored. Jesus, telling this story, wanted people to focus on the fact that the son was wasteful. He took everything his father had given him and he had wasted it...he spent it on extravagant living, and then when his choices finally caught up with him, he found himself eating pig slop. mmmmmm....
My favorite line in this story comes next: "When he came to his senses..."
This is a moment of realization. A moment where the boy has a "come to Jesus" moment, and he says, what the junk am I doing here? This is not how life is supposed to be. I thought life would be better than this.
Be honest with yourself...have you ever had to come to your senses? Have you ever had a "Come to Jesus" moment? I know I have...a few times.
But the best part of the story is that the boy decided it was time to go home.
Growing up in South Texas, specifically in Corpus Christi, Homecoming was an important event, and living in Llano, I am beginning to see that it is an important event here too. Mums and garters, tuxedos and boutonniere's, beautiful evening gowns...oh...and football! Can't forget that one!
It really is a big party. Traditionally reunions happen, people get together and celebrate accomplishments and really just enjoy each other's company. It is really just a big party to celebrate being alive and being home.
And when the boy gets home, that's exactly what happens. The fattened calf is slaughtered, the great wine is brought out, the feast is on. No more pig slop for the boy.
As long as we have breath in our lungs, my brothers and sisters, it is never too late to come home. It is never too late to come to our senses; to have come to Jesus moment. After all, that is what Jesus wants: for us to come to him.
Let us pray;
Father, we realize there are things we have done that make it seem like you are dead to us; that we do not fully believe in the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. We know that we have failed you in our love and we have tried to do it our own way.
Help us, Lord, to "come to our senses" and to make the decision to return to you. We know that you love us, and you are ready to welcome us home.
In Jesus Name,