THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Terry R. Baughman
“But 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).
One of the most poignant stories of Jesus was the telling of the parable of the lost son, better known as the story of the prodigal. However, the dramatic turnaround and the restoration of the lost son brings joy and hope to any who have experienced such loss and live with prayers and dreams of reconciliation.
The son had not left on good terms. He wanted to rush the process, claim the inheritance, and enjoy the pleasures of life while he was still young. The father gave in, said goodbye, and grieved for the vacant seat at the table and the empty hole in his heart. The other brother stayed home and worked. However, he may have harbored resentment at the increased responsibility and duties that now fell on his shoulders.
Life was good for the wayward son … for awhile. The imagined fortune gained in the windfall inheritance seemed limitless, but in time it dwindled and disappeared. And so did the friends that always hung around for the free drinks and generosity of the fool-hearted benefactor. When the money dried up there was no more parties and no more fun and no reason to stay around.
The devastated son sought employment and found a menial job on a pig farm and found himself eating along with them in desperation. Only at the end of the road and in desperate conditions did he finally think of home.
Home is where there is love and acceptance, security and provision, and the certain knowledge of belonging. At home there is no need to be on guard, keep up appearances, or worry about being taken in. A person can be vulnerable, transparent, and authentic when at home. Home is a place of acceptance.
The prodigal dreamed of home. A place where the servants were living better than he was. At least they had decent meals, secure lodging, and provision for a future. He had none of that. So with a certain dread of how he might be received he headed down the same road that had taken him away and began the journey back. As he walked he rehearsed his apology, made plans to ask for a servants position in a place he felt he no longer belonged.
What he did not know was that each day the father looked down the road toward the sunset and dreamed of the day the lost would return. He planned no revenge, plotted no restitution, or required no penitence. He only longed for the son to return. When he saw the familiar gait and the dejected demeanor of the lost boy, his heart leaped with joy, and he ran to welcome him. The tears were of joy and the occasion demanded a celebration of restoration. He said, “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:23–24 NIV).
There is acceptance for every prodigal, welcome for all who’ve strayed. Home is a place of acceptance. Welcome home!
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46 NIV).