A Father’s Joy

by Lester Young

Let me ask you something: If someone’s heartfelt gift was flatly rejected by the person it was offered to, how do you think the giver would feel? (Actually, you may not have to ‘think’ about it at all – perhaps you have firsthand knowledge of this type of situation.) Okay, now add to the mix that this ‘someone’ is a loving and caring father, and he’s trying to give a very valuable gift not to just anyone, but to his own son or daughter. If the child continued to rebuff him, don’t you think the man’s feelings might be hurt – and just a little bit insulted? Come on, be honest: most of us would be calling that kid a snot-nosed little #&- …well, never mind right now what we’d be calling him. Anyway…

Consider the parable of ‘the prodigal son,’ recounted in Luke 15:11-32. You know the story: the younger son took his inheritance and hit the road – and then proceeded to spend every last drachma of it having an ‘awful’ lot of fun. (I guess he figured, “Hey, if I’m going down, I’m going down swingin’!” And he did, too; in all kinds of ways…but I digress.) Of course, the wild times lasted juuust about as long as the money held out, and the Scripture tells us the young man then “came to himself” (verse 17). It’s amazing how an acute case of ‘brokeness’ can snatch one back to reality, isn’t it? But anyway…

Now here’s the point: What was the father’s attitude when he saw his wayward son coming home? He was so elated he couldn’t stand it, and ran out to the field and threw himself all over the kid. The son tried to sincerely apologize, and he really would have been humbly content with just a menial position on his dad’s workforce. And that’s exactly what he was all set to ask for, because he no longer considered himself worthy of anything from his father. But his father cut him off – just interrupted the boy like he didn’t have anything important to say: because as far as love was concerned, he didn’t!

The father allocated absolutely no time to listening to his son’s groveling, but instead immediately restored him back to full ‘sonly’ status with all commensurate rights, privileges and possessions. Not only did the man order a robe to be brought out and put on him, but the best robe in the house! (Hopefully the kid had the presence of mind to go and dip seven times or so in the Tub of cleanliness before he put it on, though – after having fooled around with those pigs for who knows how long [verse 15]…just sayin’.) He put an official ‘family authority and credit-card’ ring on his finger and the nicest pair of alligator sandals you’ve ever seen on his feet (verse 22). (Well…it doesn’t say they weren’t gators.)

But then, imagine for a moment what would’ve happened if the son had abruptly said, “No, Father; I can’t accept any of these things from you.” How do you think the father would have felt? How would you feel? That young man would not have dreamed of insulting or hurting his dad that way. The father was graciously, lavishly bestowing upon him all the love that he could – in essence, making the son equal with himself by giving him all his property and authority (Luke 15:31; John 16:15; Philippians 2:6) – and he took great delight in doing so! (Luke 12:32)

The father’s joyfulness in having his son back with him was so over-the-top, I honestly don’t think we have a good grasp of just how severe a party was about to jump off in there. I’m saying, those folks were fixing to do some serious eating, drinking, and merrying! (verse 23) The father’s joy was overwhelming and all-emcompassing – and so everyone was overwhelmed and encompassed.

That’s a perfect picture of our heavenly Father’s joy, and it’s the enjoyment we’re supposed to have – it’s what He expects us to have (John 15:10-11). Why? Because today is the Day of our Salvation, and with unspeakable Love He’s given us everything He has (John 3:16-17; Romans 4:13, 8:17; 2 Corinthians 6:2). As Nehemiah 8:10-12 exhorts us: “‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!’ And the Levites…quieted the people, telling them, ‘Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.’ So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them” (New Living Translation).

The Father’s very own overwhelming joy inside us – as we become fully persuaded of His tender love and abundant provision for all our needs (John 3:16; Philippians 4:19), and recognize that we’re not alone and are completely safe in Him (Genesis 15:1; Psalm 23:4) – will give us overwhelming strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Don’t slight His unspeakable love and graciousness or hurt His feelings by not gratefully receiving everything He’s offered (1 Corinthians 3:21-22). After all, the Gift He’s given us cost Him everything He had – and He went ahead and paid without batting an eye, because He considered us worth the price.

Me? I wouldn’t dream of insulting my Father.

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4 Comments to “A Father’s Joy”

  1. Lovely post on Father’s love, Lester! I’ve been touched!

  2. Great message, Lester! Nothing can compare to a father’s love! Have a fulfilling day! 🙂

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