Zeal and the Prodigal Son

          Each one of these stories in Luke chapter fifteen may look different but they are in fact one big masterpiece. They all build into the next, teaching us how to be zealous like God when seeking the lost. God is zealous like a shepherd who loses a sheep out of one hundred. Logically losing one sheep out of one hundred would be inevitable and might be calculated into the risk of being a shepherd. You might assume the shepherd to accept the loss and move on due to owning many other sheep. But no, the shepherd cares for his flock and values every individual, just like the Lord. God created every child personally and is going to seek them with the strength and compassion of a shepherd who values every member of his flock.

            Along with strength and compassion the Lord is going to seek the lost with the detail of a woman who has lost her coin. Women are built with the zeal to notice, seek, and pay attention to the finite details. Therefore, it is no secret why millions of husbands a year turn to their wife to find their lost keys, tools, remotes, etc. God is going to seek out His children with the precision and dedication of a woman who is looking for one lost coin out of her whole house.

            Now, as if precision, dedication, strength and compassion aren’t enough, the Lord is going to seek us without hesitation or grumbling. Just as the Father who had lost his prodigal son. The son asked for his inheritance early and sought his own path, dishonoring his father. Years later when the son realizes his mistakes and returns home the father rejoices with open arms, running to his son. He clothes the son the finest robe (most likely his own), gives the son a ring that symbolizes he is back in the family, and then kills the fattest calf in celebration. But the older son, also dishonors his father, because instead of rejoicing with his father, the older son fills his heart with anger and distances himself. Yet again, the father without hesitation or grumbling embraces and comforts the older. The father reminds him why they are celebrating, a close member of the family whom in all tenses and purposes was dead is alive, with them again.

            Rejoice is mentioned in every single one of the parables in chapter fifteen because God rejoices when every single one of us returns to him. We need to seek and encourage the lost to return to God with the principles these parables teach. It is far too easy for us to grumble or make excuses for our hesitation and lack of compassion. But God sacrificed his only son for us and yet still has compassion for every sin we commit. All these stories end in a cliffhanger one way or another and that is because they are asking us, in our lives, how are we going to end the story?

Inspired by Luke 15