“But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  And bring out the fatted calf here and kill it…..”  Luke 15:22,23

There are a lot of questions out there concerning enough these days.  Will you have enough for retirement?  Will you have enough to send your child to college?  Do you have enough to go on that vacation?  Do we have enough __________ (fill in the blank with water, oil, food etc).  The overarching theme is that there is always a limit.  There is always a point to which something is used up.  There is only so much to go around and when that so much is reached; it is gone.  There can be an earthly wisdom to that type of thinking when it comes to wisely using resources.  Yet when that type of thinking spills over to our thoughts about Our Heavenly Father then we start to put foolish limits on Him.

Man, could Jesus tell a story or what?  In one story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus packs so much amazing wisdom about ourselves and Our Heavenly Father.  Much is rightly said and preached about, seeking after earthly things, forgiveness, loyalty, repentance and such.  There’s another dynamic truth out there that I think opens a window on the Loving, Giving, Merciful Nature of Our Heavenly Father that should fill us with great joy.

And it has to do with limits and how the world deals with limits versus how Our Heavenly Father deals with limits.  First limit, the inheritance.  The younger son, wanted what was going to be his.  Note something here; while he was with the father, that limit potentially would increase exponentially.  Yet because the younger son wanted it to leave the father, there had to be a totaling and as such the limit was finite and probably a lessor amount.  Was that enough?  No, we see that the son uses it all up in a rather short period of time in prodigal, that is wasteful, extravagant living.

The next set of limits are not just financial, they are also existential limits; or how much can I take, limits.  With his money used up the son has to be able to eat.  It just so happens that a famine comes so no one is being generous with charity for him.  He is hungry, maybe even starving.  We don’t know if it is a limit of pride in not returning home or a limit of money not being able to get passage home, but the son takes a job feeding swine, pigs.  In might be good to remember at this point how pigs were looked upon as unclean, horrible animals by the Israelites.  It would seem that it was more a limit of pride because the job still does not pay enough for the son to sustain himself because he wants to eat what he is giving to the pigs.  In the story, Jesus says the son came to his senses and decided to go home.

Here’s where the limits get real interesting to me.  The son has the thoughts of the world; both then and now.  For here is the son’s calculation:  I took my money, I spent my money, there is rightly no more money for me to have as a son, I must live within the meager limit of a servant, probably the lowliest of servants.  We, in an earthly sense would say: “that’s right, you got it, you made your bed so now you’ve got to sleep in it (which in this case is probably made of straw outside). His father (and what Jesus is trying to get across that Our Heavenly Father) sees something completely different.

For you see the son did not return prideful, arrogant, making excuses for what happened, blaming others for his misfortune, saying he was entitled to more.  No, he came to himself; that is the son took an objective, truthful look at where he was, what he had done to get there and knew it was no one else’s fault than his own.  He was not only sorrowful but he was repentant.  He came home broken.  And where the human approach, a human father, would feel justified in giving a stern lecture and treating him with disdain.  In fact the world would say if you didn’t do that, you would be coddling the son too much, spoiling them.  You would be a poor parent.

What does the Father say?  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of God.  That is what the father in the story sees.  He sees a son who is broken, a son who has learned a lesson, a son who the world has tried to kill but has returned so that he may live again.  And so that father gives, gives without limit, best robes, gold rings, fine sandals, best meal.  The son whom I have always loved, no matter where he was, has returned to me.

Dear precious brothers and sisters, this story should fill us all with loving joy knowing how precious we are to Our Heavenly Father.  We don’t like to admit it but we are going to fail, we are going to run away at times, we will probably be prodigal at some point.  Satan would have us believe our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us back.  Satan would have us believe we’ve used up all our love, all our blessings.

Our Heavenly Father does not want us to leave in the first place.  But be assured of this, when we come to ourselves and see our brokenness.  When we truly repent to our Heavenly Father, He stands ready to forgive and shower upon us more than enough blessings.  There is no limit.  How can I be so sure?  Jesus Christ.   Our Heavenly Father willingly sacrificed His Only Begotten Son, that we might live in a loving eternal relationship with Him.

Dear brothers and sisters; please don’t put a limit on what you think Our Heavenly Father is capable of.  Don’t be resentful, as the other brother was, when God shows His extravagant mercy to a lost soul who returns.  If you are in a place of separation, return to Him knowing He desperately wants to show you that He will give you more than enough out of His Love.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You are Creator God to which there can be no limits.  We confess that we stray from you in thought, word and/or deed at times to live after worldly ways.  We are truly sorrowful for those times.  Yet Heavenly Father in Your Mercy, we testify that You want us back and will come running with open arms when we return to You.  Thank You Heavenly Father for You Loving Mercy and Kindness to us that knows no bounds, even to the death of Your Son Jesus Christ for our sins.  We praise You Dear Father now and forever more.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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