Summary: Sermonette. The prodigal son, this story is a descriptive an understanding of what we are worth to our Heavenly Father.
This is a multifaceted parable this is but one descriptive of its meaning.
How much are we worth? A lot of our understanding of worth will depend on how we see ourselves, how we were treated as children, and what others have said about our worth. Jesus tells a story what to many of us is a very well-known story, to his disciples. This is a story about two brothers and a father. One of the boys decides it is time to leave home. He takes half of his Father’s estate and leaves. This in Jesus time would have shamed the Father, the boy leaves, he travels, he parties hard, much drinking, many sinful encounters, he spends all he has, he ends up with nothing, no money, no friends and he has to take a lowly job that means he is unclean to his people. Coming to his senses he thinks about the life he had, the food he had, the things his father supplied him. So he decides to return to that former life, but not as a son, but as a servant. If his Father will have him!
Luke tells of his Father's response this way.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Now the older son, the reliable hard working son comes in from the fields and is not impressed. He says to his Father.
"‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’"
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
The thing about our worth that Jesus points out, is that we cannot judge our own worth in God’s eyes. The badly behaved son believed and said that he was unworthy to return to the Father as his son.
We cannot believe what others say about us, the hard working son was jealous of the Father's reaction and believed that his brother was unworthy of what the Father was doing for him
We can only truly know our worth through the eyes of the Father. The Father who every day longed for his younger son's return; who while we were or are a long way off runs to meet his son, who while we were still along way from him runs to meet us as we turn to him, who wants to adorn us with the best, who sacrificed the best for us. The Father, the unchanging Father, The Creator who sees things as he intends them to be, who gave up his only begotten son so that a world of lost sinners could come to him, knowing him as Father.
Our true worth is known to and seen through the eyes of the Father.