This fall I've been dwelling on grace a lot, and a lot of my thinking centers around the story in Luke 15:11-32. Some call it the Lost Son, others the Prodigal Son. I myself think it should be called the Prodigal Father. Prodigal means extravagant, just in case you didn't know.
Instead of summarizing I'd encourage you to read the story in your Bible, or you can read it here.
The story amazes me for several reasons
1) The father is waiting for his son to return, even though he was considered dead to his son. Once he sees him returning, he runs to him, which in the days of Jesus would have been humiliating for a man of his status to do.
2) The son comes in repentance and asks to be a servant of his father. The father instead takes him back as his son, and extravagantly shows his love as a father by asking for the best robe, shoes, and a ring to be put on him. He also throws a huge celebration, killing the fattened calf. Now my friend Ryne pointed this out to me. The fattened calf would have only been used for a community wide celebration, a block party if you will. To use the calf for anything less was to waste an enormous amount of meat. But this is what the father does.
3) When the other son returns and finds the celebrating going on, he becomes jealous and demands to know why his father's son (note he refuses to acknowledge him as his brother) deserves such treatment.
God's grace isn't fair. Let me repeat, God's grace isn't fair. Think about that, and let the implications sink in. Check out Matthew 20:1-16 and don't be afraid to think and feel that some of the workers got a raw deal.
We don't deserve God's grace, but that is what he offers us. The same grace he offers to us, he offers to all, even those we think don't deserve it. Even to our most hated enemies. Even to Osame Bin Laden and Adolph Hitler.
There are times where I feel as the younger son. I know I have turned from God, but cannot fathom the grace he offers me. And there are times where I feel like the older son but I'll get to that in the next post in a few days...