Pastor Jim Jackson
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church
Seems like everyone loves a good party. Jesus sure did. You will remember his attendance at the wedding in Cana. He even contributed to the the supply of good wine.
Then, of course, he told the parable of what we call the “prodigal son.” Perhaps that’s the most loved story in Luke’s gospel, if not in the whole New Testament. I really think that parable is more about a loving father, portrayed as our loving Heavenly Father who loves his children, both prodigal and the self-centered, judgmental type.
You surely recall how the prodigal hit the road with his advanced inheritance in search of a party like he hadn’t enjoyed at home.
Trouble was that the party soon played out and he found himself in the company of pigs.
It’s always a bad party when one is selfishly concerned with only his good time. Apparently his friends shortly looked for another party, since when the money ran out, so did they. Luke says it like this, “and no man gave unto him.”
Good thing is that he “came to himself ” and eventually made it home, the place he formerly despised and the father he deserted. But the father hadn’t deserted him, for upon his return, his father had little time for his son’s rehearsed apology. Instead, he set in motion the means of full restoration for his lost son now found—shoes, a robe, a ring, and a party.
It seemed to be a happy restoration and reunion on the farm. But not so, for the stay at home “good boy” was upset to the point of choosing pouting rather that partying.
He complained that his father had never given him a party to make fun with is friends.
It’s sad that this otherwise happy ending of a party concluded with a sad scene, portraying a son absent and alone in his grief all because the party wasn’t for him.
I confess, I’ve done my share of living in the dumps when the party wasn’t for me.
There were those days in elementary school when i didn’t get a Valentine’s card from he cutest girl in the room. Also it was not fun watching and waiting while others were chosen first for the sandlot softball team.
Though the elder brother and I failed at times to join the party because it wasn’t for us, there are better choices than sitting alone outside.
The party could have been the elder brother’s too, had he just joined in the happy return of his bother. There was a bright side he hadn’t apparently considered. for he then had help with the chores on the farm.
He hadn’t lost his half of the inheritance. Just think of the possibilities with the fruit of his hard work. If we can just take ourselves out of the contest with others, there’s a good chance we can make the party ours also, and we don’t have to eat with pigs or bathe in self-pity to get there.
There’s no cover charge and what fun it can be when you invite yourself.