Heart of the Father

Last week, we learned about a sad, broken-hearted papa who had two turds for sons (TNF Revised Edition Bible). The father offered his love, goodness, and heart to both sons. Unfortunately, one son decided he would reject his father by “doing all the right things,” and the other rejected his father by “doing all the wrong things”. Neither son simply wanted a relationship with the dad.        

The heart of this father must have been grieved to have his sons reject his love, goodness, and place in the family. As a father of nine, learning that my kids did not want a relationship with me, but only what I could give them, would crush me. It would make me angry, hurt, and defensive. Initially, I would be tempted to withhold my love or blessing and become conditional. Wishing that they’d learn their lesson, be grateful, appreciate me more.

However, the dad in this story is different. He is selfless and sees only the plight of his sons and desires what is best for each of them. He claims both boys and he never stops calling them his sons while facing communal scrutiny, scorn, and sacrificing reputation. His wealth decreases, and he takes personal hits, but he  continues loving and giving. He is steadfast and unmovable on behalf of his sons despite the cost.  

Oh, to be this kind of dad! To love unconditionally, completely, and undeservedly. To be keenly aware and “know” my kids needs. To provide in a way that shows the right balance of truth and grace.

The dad in the story is an example of dad we all need and desire, because like we said last week, we are these sons. All of us have rebelled against our heavenly Father by staying and “doing all the right things for the wrong reasons.” As well as, we have rebelled by leaving, and “doing what we want when we want!”  We have all said, “I don’t want to be your son or daughter!” How His heart must break, and yet He is steadfast and unmovable in His pursuit of us. We need a dad who offers us a way home to be His sons and daughters again. A dad who offers all of the love, mercy, grace, and provision we so desperately need. The good news is - we do! Here is what our Heavenly Dad does for each of us:
Galatians 4:4-7
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

John 1:11-13
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God

The climax in this story is the moment one son receives his father’s invitation to come home and is now back in the family. We are then, left waiting as the older son is faced with the same offer. We are given the same opportunity, to be sons and daughters of an amazing Heavenly Dad again. He is patiently waiting for our answer. So what will we decide?        

- Do you see the heart of your Heavenly Dad towards you?  Why or why not?
- His offer has been made. What have you decided?  Are you going to be a son, daughter, or slave ?
- If you have chosen to “believe and receive” being his son or daughter, then are you living that way?  
- We can be a son or daughter and still live like an older or younger brother. Does your life, desires, time usage, and money allocation look like a son or daughter? If not why? How can you change that?