the extravagant father {coming home}

the return - rembrandt

he was an extravagant father when his youngest son demanded his inheritance.  he was an extravagant father as he waited & watched his son squander his inheritance on frivolity & foolishness knowing that inheritance without identity is just a bunch of expendable cash.  cash easily spent, easily lost.  identity costly, irreplaceable, priceless.   he was an extravagant father while his son slid to his lowest, struggling to slop pigs, stealing the pig scraps for his own nourishment.  he was extravagant as he sat at the family table, looked out the window & waited.  the very things the son sought in the city, were the very things the father lavished on him when he came home.  the party, the peace, the identity, the authority, the feast... he bestowed them generously, lovingly, extravagantly.  the peace, the feast, the identity were there all along but the son refused to position himself to receive them.  the father was an extravagant father all along.  the issue was never the extravagant father, but the son who rejected his sonship.  the son needed to find out who he wasn't before he could find out who he was.

the prodigal son is the pinnacle of all parables.  without this as the centrepiece, without an understanding of sonship, everything else tastes sour, bittersweet, unauthentic.  the significance is in finding a son or daughter in ourselves.  if we are not first sons, every father, earthly or spiritual, will disappoint.  how many have become casualties of imperfect fathers.  father hurt & father wounds.  even Godly fathers of the house, those we look up to, we draw from, we depend on.  all disappoint, fall short.  be them wonderful, loving & kind.  none of them are extravagant like the extravagant Father, perfect like the perfect Father.

there is another son in the story.  the elder brother.  the hurt son.  jealous, legalistic, bitter, angry, disillusioned, insecure, competitive.  when we reject our sonship, we revert to the elder brother syndrome.  he wasn't secure in his own relationship with his father.  his security in that relationship had come only from his own performance, his glistening record.  the elder son also robbed himself of the rich inheritance he'd been given by the extravagant father.  if we don't position ourselves as a son, we'll end up a hurt son.  you'll question your sonship, without a real relationship with the father. you become critical of the father just as the hurt son did.

"but he answered his father, 'look!  all these years i've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.  yet you never gave me even a young goat so i could celebrate with my friends.  but when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' 
'my son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything i have is yours. but we had to celebrate and show our joy, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he is lost & is found'" {luke 15:29-32}

it wasn't enough for the hurt son.  he wanted recognition.  he chose works when what his soul craved was relationship.  and that is all the extravagant father wanted all a long.  relationship. he wanted his kids back.  same as God the father.

sonship & daughtership is an issue of the heart, an issue of positioning.  He is calling us to the family table, to His outstretched arms. and yet we flee to seek identity, security, peace in the wasted, wayward world.  living well beneath our identity, seeking what i could only find at home.  home in the Father's arms.  so come home. turn your heart & make the long journey home.  take the ring of authority, proudly wear the robe, your identity, peace, the shoes on your feet & feast on the fatted calf of favour.  walk into that life long, extravagant celebration, into relationship with the extravagant father.  and know you are a son, you are a daughter.      
coming home

"'i'm going back to my father.  i'll say to him, Father, i've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; i don't deserve to be called your son.  take me on as a hired hand.' he got right up and went home to his father.
when he was still a long way off, his father saw him.  his heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him and kissed him. the son started his speech: 'father, i've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; i don't deserve to be called your son ever again...'
but the father wasn't listening.  he was calling to the servants, 'quick. bring a clean set of clothes & dress him.  put the family ring on his finger & sandals on his feet.  then get a grain-fed heifer & roast it.  we're going to feast!  we're going to have a wonderful time!  my son is here - given up for dead & now alive! given up for lost & now found!'"
{luke 15: 17-24, msg}

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