In recent months at the Love Feast we have made a point to dive back into some of the very basics of what it means to be a believer, to follow Jesus in our lives, and know Him as Lord. God's love for us is one of those basics that we could probably spend a lifetime diving into and only scratch the suface. So we spent three weeks reflecting on the parable of the prodigal son, or another title we like to use--the parable of the two sons who didn't know how much their daddy loved them.
There are three main characters in the story. A younger son throws away his inheritance on a wild binge-season, trying to figure out life and find fulfillment on his own. He returns home after coming to his senses to surprisingly find his father running to embrace him, kiss him, and celebrate his return, when he expected to have to plea for a lowly place in the home. The older son pouts and sulks upon returning from the field to find his father lavishly celebrating his irresponsible brother's return. The father's response is a gentle and stern correction. I imagine him putting an arm around his son's shoulder as he begins, "Look, son..."
Though the story starts with the narrative of the younger son, it seems like the father might be the main character to understand through both of the coming-of-age issues these boys are going through. Through each of these boy's instances of wrongheadedness and missing the point, the father is trying to communicate to both of them that they haven't gotten it yet--that they are rich beyond they're imagination simply because they are with their father. And his love for them is much more than either of them realize.
How often do I live acting like the younger son, with the mindset of an orphan, ignorant of the fact that I have a Daddy, and that He loves me and wants to walk with me, listen to me, and celebrate beautiful moments of life like this with me. How often do I slip into an older-son mentality, living like a slave in my Father's house. I try to earn my keep, secure my own place under His roof, and just default to thinking about the things I can do and not do in order to gain His favor.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1
It is an incredible, multifaceted, and beautiful thing Jesus has done for us one the cross--one of those layers being that He has shared His sonship with us. His Daddy is now my Daddy! I've been adopted into the family because "God so loved the world..." I no longer need to live in the false orphan mindset of the younger son or the slave-mindset of the older son. I am simply a son , and the inheritance I have in the Father is more than I can dream of.
My exhortation at the Love Feast recently was that during this summer break, each one present would ask the Father to show His love them, however He wanted to communicate that. It's one of those sure-fire prayers, I think. How can He resist a request like that?!
Please pray for folks in our neighborhood to be expectant of the Father showing His love to them this summer.
Oh, how I'm surprised at how very rich the simple basics are when I return to them.