“This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is now found!” Luke 15:24.

One day, Christ told the following parable:

There was a man who had two sons. The younger son went to his father one day and said, “Father, I want my portion of the inheritance now.” So the father gave the younger son his portion of the inheritance.

Not many days later, the younger son left home. He took all his money and went to a far-away land, and he wasted every penny he had on foolish living. After he had blown through all his money, there was a famine in that country, and the younger son had nothing. No food, no money, nothing at all. After some time, he was able to get a job working on a pig farm, and he was so hungry that he would eat the food that he fed to the pigs.

When the man came to his senses, he said, “My father’s servants have more than enough bread, and here I am starving to death! I’ll go home to my father and say ‘I have sinned against you, and I’m not worthy to be your son. Make me one of your servants.’”

So he went back to his father.

But the father had been looking for his son every day since he left. He would look out of the window and long to see his son coming up the path. On this particular day, the father was again looking out the window, and he spotted his son while he was still a little way off. The father was overcome with compassion, and ran out of the house, down the path, to his son. He threw his arms around the son and embraced him, and he kissed his son. The son said, “Father, I have sinned against you. I’m not worthy to be your son. Make me one of your servants.”

But the father would have nothing of that. Instead, the father turned to his servants and said, “Clean my son up! Bring out the best robe and put him in it!  Go and get the fattest calf and kill it, so that we can have a feast! Because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”

So there was a great celebration.

As we’ve seen numerous times before, the parables that Christ told have a much deeper meaning than what is seen at face value, and this parable is certainly no exception. In the parable of the prodigal son, Christ was describing the relationship between humanity and God; in the story the father represents God, and the younger son represents the unsaved sinner–someone we have all been at one time or another. God willingly blesses us and provides for all of our needs, just as the father willingly gave the son his early inheritance. And just like the son, when we are unsaved, we take those blessings for granted and squander them all in our foolish living. We run away from God and we go out to seek pleasure and fun, desire and lust, vice and debauchery. Though that lifestyle may be fun and exciting for a season, we quickly find ourselves down and out with absolutely nothing. We end up with our lives a wreck, in a complete state of chaos, living in the proverbial pigsty just like the younger son in the story.

But the story doesn’t end there. Only because of God’s unwavering love for us, we are able to come to our senses and realize that we must return home, back to a relationship with our Heavenly father. This isn’t a decision we can come to on our own fruition. Nobody chooses to follow God. Instead, we experience a sort of realization that this isn’t the way life is supposed to be. We feel a longing for something better, or feel a call, and we continue to experience this sensation until we realize what it is–until we come to our senses and understand that the call we feel is God calling us back to him. God is waiting and watching, just as the father did, to see who heeds His call. Those who hear His call, and come back to Him, will receive an even greater reception than the prodigal son. God will welcome us into His kingdom with open arms and there will be celebration beyond explanation. No longer will we be dead and lost in our sins, we will be alive and reunited with our Heavenly Father.

Don’t wallow in the pigsty of sin and foolish living. Return to your senses and return to God. He is waiting for you to hear His call, and He will welcome you back with open arms.

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