February 28th 2010

Our Spiritual Home

 “…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.”

Luke 15:20 (NIV) 

An 85-year-old man was sitting on a park bench crying. Two men saw him and walked over to see if they could help. “Is there something wrong at home?” The 85-year-old sobbed, “No, everything is fine. I have a beautiful home with a landscaped garden with a swimming pool. I have a wonderful wife who is much younger than me. She’s a superb cook, treats me a like a king, and is always attentive to my needs.” One of the men asked, “Well then, why in heaven’s name are you crying?” The old man replied, “I can’t remember where I live!”

 I see this little story as a metaphor for where many people are spiritually. They have lost their way and can’t remember where their true home is.

 Jesus takes the story to the next level in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. In his story, Jesus lets us know how easy it is to find our way back home. A man has two sons. The elder son is loyal to his father and works hard. The younger son, by contrast, takes his share of the family inheritance, leaves home and squanders it on loose living. Eventually, he decides he wants to go home, but assumes that the only way his father might accept him back would be as a hired hand. 

Luke tells us that the father not only takes him back unconditionally, and, moreover, as a son, not as a hired hand, but also throws a big party in his honour. 

From the perspective of the older brother, the loyal one, this is grossly unfair. If we are really honest, we have to agree. Where was the big party for faithfulness and loyalty? Why does the great honour go to the unfaithful kid who comes crawling home in poverty after totally dishonouring his father and his family? 

Think about it, we can see ourselves in each of the two sons. We are lost and on our journey home, hoping our heavenly Father will forgive us and take us back, and we are smugly sitting in judgment of our fellow human beings whom we think are worse sinners than are we.

 Jesus wants us to know that his Father, our Father, loves both his sons, and invites both of them into his banquet. Life in God’s household is a life surrounded by love, and that includes a whole lot of mercy—mercy we can absolutely count on.


Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy. Thank you for your love. They’re undeserved; we can’t earn them, but still you pour them out to us. Help us to embrace them in our lives, as you embrace us in yours. In Jesus’ name we pray.


Study by Joseph Tkach