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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: May 6, 2024

In many ways, the prodigal son and his brother are quite different. But in one rather important way they’re the same: they both think their father wants servants.

So when the younger son is starving and destitute, when he comes to his senses, he essentially thinks to himself, “my father always needs servants, and he’s a good lord. He’s a good master. He feeds them well. And surely he’s merciful enough to take me on, so even though I could never expect to be his son again, I’ll ask to be a servant. Then we’ll both get what we need.”

Likewise, as the feast is raging after the prodigal’s return, the older brother essentially says to his father, “all my life, I’ve been a faithful servant. I’ve done the things you expect to be done. I’ve followed my master’s commands. And yet, you never let me have so much as a  moment where I could gather with the people who matter to me, my friends, and feast.” Quite revealing, isn’t it, that the older son’s idea of the perfect celebration is one where his father isn’t present. After all, who wants your boss showing up at your party?

But what both these sons learn is that the father doesn’t want servants. He wants sons. He doesn’t want people who want his protection but either don’t expect his presence, like the younger son, or who don’t want his presence, like the older son. No, the father wants sons who want to rest in his arms and who expect to rest in his arms.

So when you feel the weight of your sin, when your stomach longs to consume the pods the pigs eat, do more than the prodigal son. Come fully to your senses and remember that your Father doesn’t want servants. He wants His children back. Come home and expect Him to clothe you in His robe and His ring and His shoes. Expect Him to clothe you in the forgiveness and mercy and salvation that Jesus Christ won for you upon the cross. 

And likewise, if it angers you to see your brother coming home to your Father, if you think that you should be a higher status servant in His eyes, then realize you’re actually the one who has wandered. If you think that your Father has robbed you of glory by showing mercy to the son who once was lost, recognize that you’re the one outside the feast of salvation and that you’re never going to come in until you actually want to be in the presence of the God of mercy. 

In all of this, look to Christ, hunger for His salvation, and you’ll see your Father clearly: He doesn’t want servants. He wants sons. So come be one. Come home. Come join the feast.

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