“Maybe today he will come home” the rich father said to himself as he faithfully stood watching the horizon for any sign of his son’s return.
Far away, the periodic sounds of hogs grunting and chewing on the carob pods was of no concern to a certain poor young man. It was the hunger pangs in his stomach that bothered him. As he leaned against the side of the pig pen, he could hear his stomach rumble. He was hungry … in fact, he was starving. His job was to feed the pigs with carob pods, but as he stood there watching them eat, all he could think of was grabbing the pigs’ food and eating it himself. He was famished and would give anything for just one bite. Yet strangely enough, this starving young man is the son the rich and loving father was eagerly waiting for to return home.
How did such a well-to-do young man end up in such a poor situation—around a pig’s pen?
One day, while he was still living at home with his father, he asked his him, “Father give me my portion of the inheritance.” The father complied and gave him his part of the inheritance, which was his by birth. Not many days after, this young man, having gathered everything together, went abroad to a distant country and there squandered his estate by living wastefully in sin and pleasures. When he had used up all of his money, a severe famine occurred throughout that country and he began to be in need. Thus he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into the fields to feed hogs (Luke 15:11-15).
As the pigs continued their supper in the mud, the boy began to think to himself, “How many of my father’s hired servants abound in bread, but I am perishing here in famine! I will rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ ” And he rose up and came to his own father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him affectionately. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring out quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry because this son of mine was dead and lives again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to merry (Luke 15:17-24).
The story of this young man is a story about you. God is the Father and you are His son. Your existence stems from Him because He created you. Yet, you have fallen from God into an unsatisfied life of “feeding swine.” That is, you have fallen into a life of sin, a life of unhappiness… a life of inner discontent. When you go to the movie theaters or when you go to parties, you feel, at times, that you are going to the swine pens. Amidst the music, dancing, and short-lived fun, you feel empty, poor, and hungry. Just as that young man turned from the pigpen to his father’s house, you also need to turn to God. This is the natural response for all those who are tired of the vain pleasures of sin and inwardly long for reality in life.
God, like the loving father, is eagerly waiting for you. He wants you to return home. There is no need for you to work for God or to pray for a long period of time before He will answer you. No! Right now God is eagerly watching and waiting to receive you. When you make the slightest turn toward Him, He, moved with compassion, will run to meet and embrace you as did the father to his returning son. Because of His love for you, He sent Christ to die on the cross for your sins and to satisfy God’s righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). And just as that son received a robe from his father, God has prepared Christ as the “best robe” for you to wear, to cover you so that in God’s sight, you are as righteous as He is. Christ is also the fattened calf, killed on the cross for you to eat and have your hunger fully and wonderfully satisfied. As the robe, Christ becomes your splendid clothing; as the fattened calf, He becomes your inward enjoyment and satisfaction.
Don’t wait any longer! It’s time to “come home” to enjoy God’s bountiful love, and rich satisfaction by turning your heart to Him and praying…
Lord Jesus I repent for living a life away from You. Forgive me of my sins and rescue me from a life of vanity. O Lord Jesus, come into me to be my inward life and satisfaction.