Summary: Jesus told a parable to illustrate how sinners, like silly children, can come back to their forgiving fathers, but while the younger son was prodigal in the way he got through his father's money, it is God our heavenly Father who is prodigal, extravagant

GOSPEL - Luke 15:11-32

SERMON – Our Prodigal Father

We call God “Our Father”

but He is greater in every way

than any human father or mother could ever be.

Paul said: “We think WE are so wise, so clever,

but God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom”.

His ways are higher and purer than ours can ever be.

He loves the unloveable;

forgives the unforgiveable.

He is the One Who chooses what the world, mankind, considers “weak”

in order to confound those who consider themselves “powerful”.

Our fathers and mothers taught us right from wrong,

scolded us when were bad

and praised us when we were good,

and were always there when we needed them,

but God’s love and grace surpasses the goodness

of the best human parent.

Every church member and every child who has attended Sunday school

or had a Religious Education lesson

should be familiar with Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son.

The Good News Bible calls the boy “The Lost Son”

and that is appropriate because for a time the son was lost,

in the sense of being lost from his father and kinsmen

and even lost from his own moral values.

We know that Jesus told the parable to illustrate how LOST

mankind has been generally,

and how we are cut off or separated or ALIENATED from our Creator

because of Adam and Eve’s FALL

and because of our personal sin or HAMARTIA – falling short.

Jesus never actually used the word PRODIGAL,

but the dictionary definition – EXTRAVAGANT or WASTEFUL,

certainly seems an appropriate description of the younger son’s actions,

because he went through his father’s money

in a much shorter time than it took the dad to earn it.

The situation in the parable must have been relevant

to the people Jesus was addressing, or he would not have used it,

and it is still relevant today,

because most young people, if not all, want to do their own thing,

be free of their Mum’s apron strings and independent of their Dad’s nagging.

Like the son in the parable, if they haven't done so already,

our children will some day want to leave home

and we should not see this negatively.

Obviously we cannot keep our children – CHILDREN – forever.

We should want them to stand on their own feet

even if it means their leaving the nest.

I remember watching a NATUREWATCH programme on TV about foxes.

The father fox was very dutiful and went out hunting,

chasing rabbits as best he could

until he was able to bring something back for his mate,

which the vixen then gave to her young cubs.

The father and mother foxes were really thin while the cubs were growing

but as soon as they were considered able to find their own food

their parents pushed them out, and snarled at them

until the cubs left the area and found their own food supply.

The parent foxes were then able to put some weight back on.

We should want our children to fend for themselves

and we should not be happy if they are always dependent on us,

never able to stand on their own feet,

BUT we should encourage them, rather than SNARL at them.

Young people have minds of their own and develop their own values,

moral standards, likes and dislikes, and attitudes,

and these are often different from those of their parents.

They often model themselves on people such as TV soap stars, pop idols,

and fashion models, and so many of these are awful.

I’m sure most parents have prayed

‘Please God don’t let my son model himself on Adolf Hitler or Ossie Osmond ,

or my daughter on Myra Hindlay or Madonna’.

If our children modeled themselves on Jesus, or Mary or Joseph,

the world would be wonderful, it would be Heaven on Earth.

Back to the parable: the Prodigal Son modeled himself on his pals,

and probably thought his dad “Old-fashioned”, a “Square”, not “Cool”.

Not for him slogging his guts out on a farm 7 days a week,

so he asked his dad ‘How much are you worth?

How much will I get when you die?’

He didn't want his dad to die, but he was impatient.

He wanted his inheritance now, when he was young enough to enjoy it.

And his dad gave in; maybe to get rid of him,

to get the waster off his back, maybe to get a quiet life.

So many parents today seem to give in, rather than say NO!

Maybe he pleaded for his son to stay at home a little longer.

Maybe he gave in hoping the boy would soon fail

and come crawling back for forgiveness, admitting he was wrong,

and prepared to be a dependant for ever.

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