It’s always exciting to see people reconnect with family and friends after a time away. Homecomings are great experiences for people who care about each other. Reunions with those we love are refreshing.
The Bible tells a story about the joyous homecoming of a young man. It’s found in Luke 15.
Jesus talked about a young man who believed that life with his family was too restrictive and limiting for his fun-loving, free spirit. Filled with hubris and a strong will, he went to his dad and demanded his share of the family estate. He wanted it all, and he wanted it immediately. His plan was to strike out on his own, make a name for himself, and basically enjoy the life he felt his home had denied him.
The dad, with certain sadness but great wisdom, agreed to his son’s request. The father instinctively knew that this young man needed to face the realities of life for himself. The “University of Hard Knocks” was the only school that could give him the kind of education he needed.
This young man, money in hand and excitement in his soul, headed away from his father’s house. He felt liberated. He could do what he wanted to do and be who he wanted to be without dad’s influence or pressure from anyone’s expectations. Dreams soared high in his heart and mind, until he came face to face with something he didn’t anticipate. He had to face himself. He had to face the sad fact that he didn’t have the personal moral compass and depth of character required for true success. He was missing some important ingredients on the inside.
The deficits in this young man’s character soon became evident. His life choices led to outward circumstances that revealed the inward poverty of his spirit and soul. This brought him to some painful, honest self-reflection, and to a moment of important self-awareness when, according to Jesus’ words, this prodigal son, “came to his senses.” What a wonderful moment this was!
This internal awakening led him to an important decision. He decided to lay down what was left of his pride and head home. His experiences had broken him, in a good way. He no longer had unrealistic expectations about what life was “supposed to be like.” All he wanted to do now was to go back home and serve. He truly expected nothing. For the first time in his life he realized the significant value of what he had forfeited by his stubbornness and rebellion. So he set his course toward home.
The rest of the story is incredibly beautiful and touching. As this wayward son neared home, his dad ran out and met him with open arms of love and grace. He gave him gifts and prepared a big party for him. There were no lectures, no “I told you so’s,” no condemnation, only joy! The son who had wandered, drifted and rejected home was back again. That’s all that mattered now.
There are many lessons in this story for us. One clear message is this: God loves homecomings! Just as this father rejoiced over his son’s return, God, our Heavenly Father, rejoices when one of His children “come to their senses” and come home to Him!
Have you wandered away from God and from your spiritual home? Make a decision to return to Him. He’s lovingly waiting for you. He’ll receive you with forgiveness and grace. Don’t stay away another day. Make this your day to come back to Him. He’s only a prayer away!
Do you know someone who has wandered from God and their spiritual home? Let God use you as His voice — as His representative. Lovingly encourage them to come home. Help them find their way back to the Father!
Attend the United Pastors Conference and leave energized and encouraged, with fresh ideas and proven know-how to grow your ministry and reach people for Christ.