I give thanks for all dads and men as we celebrate Father’s Day 2019 in June. Fathers play a key role in our life journey and the parable of the prodigal son is a perfect illustration of that. For this article, I’m renaming that story “The Parable of the Loving Father” since it rings true to the heart of the parable.
- The younger son asked for his inheritance, insulting his father by basically saying ‘I wish you were dead.’ In ancient Israel, he could have been disinherited, never to return to the family, or stoned to death.
- The loving father gives the inheritance which the son wastes. Broke and hungry for what the pigs eat, he turns toward home in an act of desperation and repentance.
- The loving father has been looking for him on the horizon, and as his son approaches, he runs and embraces him, welcoming him back. In ancient Israel, it was undignified for a father to act like this and make the first move. The loving father initiates family reconciliation.
- The older son is furious the father welcomes the rebel back, and of all things, throws a party for him! The eldest feels more deserving of that party since he is faithful.
- The loving father encourages the cherished older son to celebrate the lost sons return and bring healing to the family.
Fathers and men, there will be times the children and people in our lives will hurt us in word or action. May we grow in the qualities of the loving father, who listens to the difficult, forgives and welcomes back the repentant, honors the faithful and throws one heaven of a party!