I recently joined the Sunday school teaching rotation for the the youth at our church. I was very excited to be asked to teach and look forward to each opportunity to be with the students. This three-week rotation in the curriculum has us on the topic of grace. What a treat, right? I mean, what better thing could one talk about at church but God's infinite goodness and mercy that are the very basis of our relationship with him?!
Included in the curriculum are devotions the teens can do throughout the week. I thought it would be a good idea to do them, too. Today's activity was to read Luke 15:11-32. Some of you don't even need to open your Bibles to know what story this is, the story of the prodigal son. Please click the link to read it if you are not familiar with this wonderful parable Jesus told.
What was unique about this little devotional, was their choice to highlight verse thirty-one at the opening.
'My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.'
Most of us at one time or another have been able to relate to the prodigal, running away from God into ungodly living. But there are also those who can relate to the son, feeling miffed that so much attention is paid to prodigals, when all along we've been so good with nary a word of praise. The father's response to the prodigal is very unexpected; he throws him a party after all he's done! But his response to the older son is no less tender; gently he reminds him that all of his riches are always at his disposal. He doesn't have to live with the father in bitterness. In fact, he shouldn't.
The story has a few main characters, but the mainest of the main is clearly the father who, Jesus is trying to tell his listeners, represents God the Father. What a picture of grace!
God loves his children, whether they are near or far off, and whether they have a proper perspective of who He is or not. He wants to shower us with His love by sharing with us all that He is and all that He has.
There's nothing fair about grace. We were bought at a price, (I Cor 7:23a). Praise God He does not treat us fairly, but graciously!
Here's a wonderful hymn by John Newton, set to a modern tune, that came to mind when I was thinking about these things today. Be amazed by His grace. Love! Sing!! Wonder!!!