Is There Grace for the Wanderer?

Is There Grace for the Wanderer?

August 9, 2019 2 By William Hollis


Has there ever been a time in your life when you sort of wandered away from God? When, in spite of everything good that
God has done for you, you’ve sort of pushed him away? That’s where Jesus starts with this story that we’re going to be looking at this week. There’s a father who has two sons. And one day the younger son
comes to his father and he asks for his inheritance. Now, you probably know, that normally
you don’t get your inheritance until your parents die. And so this younger son is
basically saying to his father, “I wish you were dead.” And not only that, but he wants to get as
far away from his father as he possibly can. He’s not going to take his money and buy the farm that’s right
next door so that they can still hang out all the time. So that he can still come over
for the Labor Day cookout. No. He’s going to go to
a far away, distant country so that he can do whatever he wants. So that he can do what makes him happy. He wants all his father’s things, but he wants nothing to do with his father. It seems outrageous, doesn’t it? And yet there’s something
even more outrageous that happens in this first part of this story. Not just the son’s request, but the father’s response. The father actually says “Yes.” In fact, this is our first
look at the face of grace. It’s a father whose blessings are not,
in any way, contingent on his children’s behavior. And so it’s a father who’s blessing are not withheld even when his children want nothing to do with him. So let me ask. Can you see yourself
in this part of the story? It’s no secret that there
are still lots of people who are perfectly happy living off of the blessings of God without really
wanting anything to do with God. Not stopping to think that the two of them might be related. That maybe the God who gives us every good
thing that we have also knows a thing or two about how those gifts ought to be used. That maybe the very same God who created us knows us better
than we know ourselves also knows a thing or two about what would really make us happy. Can you see yourself in
this first part of the story? If so, that’s a serious problem. That’s a sin that needs to be addressed. And Jesus is going to address
that sin as the story goes on. But, for now, pay close attention
to that father’s response. See, we might be tempted to think that, at any given moment, if we
wander away from God, if we take a single step away from him that he’s going to just instantly cut us off and he’s going to leave us
there to suffer and die. Not so. Even when people want all of the father’s things but want
nothing to do with the father, we have a Father who still says “Yes.” In fact Jesus once said, Aside from this keeping us alive and allowing us to continue to survive, it
also does something even more important. It gives us a little bit of a glimpse of
what our Father is really like. If we have a Father who treats us like this even when we wander, we already have a pretty good idea
of how he’s going to respond if and when we see the need to come back. It seems completely outrageous. And yet when we see
our Father act this way, we are looking into the face of grace.