Do you think God has favorites? I mean, sometimes I think it’s hard for our earthy mind to comprehend the fact that God loves ALL of us the same. This morning reading from Luke 15 The Parable of the Lost Son, I was reminded of this.
I love the older son in the story, because I think so many of us can relate to him. We just don’t get it sometimes. In Luke 15:29 he pours out his heart to his dad: “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never even gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours (I love how he says: “your son”, and not “my brother” lol) who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” Oh ya, lots of exclamation points in this passage. You know he was yelling and throwing a little fit.
We get it right? It’s so confusing to us (just like it is to the older son) how God lays out here the fact that works aren’t going to earn us favor with God and His mercy is so unending, that even the “hot mess” son gets a welcome home party when he realizes he’s made a mess of things and runs home to Jesus. I mean come on…we feel for the “good son” right?
Oh friend, God shows us in the way the father addresses the older son’s fit, that just because we don’t think the brat deserves forgiveness, God does. Just because we think there should be some sort of tally kept of good deeds and bad deeds and how it affects God’s heart towards us, God doesn’t. The Father addresses the hard working son, like a parent addresses a child after a good ole hissy fit which breaks out in tears and repentance. He kneels down, looks him in the eyes lovingly and says: “My son, the father said: ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours, But (here’s the lesson) we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” I love it. He says: “this brother of yours”, not just “this son of mine”. I love God’s humor.
It’s kind of like when your kids hide on you in the store and they are out of your sight for a minute or two and then you call their name and they don’t answer. Your heart is beating out of your chest and you feel like you might die. Then they peak out from the racks with a silly grin. Everything in you is confused. You want to hug them and pop them at the same time, amen? But, what do we do? We grab them, hug them, then of course we give them the “don’t ever do that again” speech.
This Dad (who is actually God) loves his older son. He adores him. He says: “everything I have is yours.” But friend, God also loves the “hot mess” brother. He is so happy when one of us turns from our junk back to His path that He not only welcomes us home, He runs out to greet us and He calls others to celebrate with Him that one of His babies came out from hiding in the store on Him.
We can’t get hung up on trying to get God to use measures and scales that we understand. He’s God! He can do whatever He wants and He can bless whoever He wants. Listen, He loves us diligent ones (everything He has is ours) We have the keys to the Kingdom. But, we need to celebrate with Dad when our “hot mess” siblings come home. We were lost once too, and thank God Jesus didn’t stop looking for us in the racks of clothes.