A Love Story

Debbi Goolsby 

Luke 15:11-32
"To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on.‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Once there was a young boy named Bud who lived in a small, quiet town. He decided he wasn’t going to be trapped in that little boring town, but run away and go to the big city. He would experience all the excitement life could offer. That afternoon he told his father he was going to the store and took off for the big city instead.

When Bud got to the big city, he lived a wild life. He did all the things his father had taught him were wrong and eventually went to jail. While he was in jail, he had a lot of time to think about what he had done. All of a sudden, home sounded really good. His life was a complete mess because he disobeyed. He wrote his father a letter asking if he could come home when he got out of jail. He asked his father to tie a white ribbon on the tree in the front yard of their house, if he was forgiven and welcome to return home. As the bus approached his neighborhood, he would check for the ribbon on the tree and know if he was welcome.

Bud was nervous as he rode home, so he asked the man next to him to look for him. Was there any chance his father would allow him to return home, or even forgive him for bringing shame to the family? Bud asked the man if he could see a ribbon on the tree. The man said he didn’t see one ribbon on the tree. Bud’s heart sank. Then the man said, “I don’t see one, but many. The whole tree is covered with white ribbons!” Bud saw the tree completely covered with ribbons and his father running toward the bus to greet him.

Is this you? Have you turned your back on God and don’t think He will ever want you back? You have done too many ugly things, you feel you are unforgiveable? This story gives a beautiful picture of God’s heart towards each one of us. He loves all the lost sons and daughters of the world. All you have to do is ask!

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