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Be Prolific in 2015

“But while he (the younger son) was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
—Luke 15:10

During the first century, a patriarch never ran.

If he were to run, he would have to hitch up his tunic so he would not trip. If he did this, his legs would be exposed which constitutes an act of humiliation, based on the culture of the time.

However, the father reacted with great excitement at the sight of his lost son and saved him from kezazah; a ceremony where the community would break a large pot in front of the now Gentile son and yell, “You are cut off from your people!”

So the father ran and humiliated himself to get to his son before his law-abiding neighbors. In the sight of such disgrace, the village would have followed the father and witnessed their embrace, as he fell upon his neck and kissed his son fervently and repeatedly. It was clear that there would be no rejecting this son—despite what he had done.

The father’s reaction is what we know as redemption…

…complete love that ignores the religious prayer of repentance. The son weeps, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”

But the father redirects the conversation away from the rehearsed words of repentance and instead pulls his son into a deep embrace of redemption.

In everyone’s eyes, being a servant would have been a just and fair treatment, but the father was not interested in what his son’s behavior deserved. Instead, he took the restoration farther than anyone thought possible, calling for the servants to bring his best robe and shoes, the father clothed the boy in a manner befitting of one who was to be known as an heir rather than an outcast. There were no more rocks to hurt the young man’s feet, no more heat to burn his skin; every step from that moment onward would feel like forgiveness.

Then the father gave his son a ring, just like Pharaoh did when he removed his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s hand as he was installed into office in Egypt. The ring carried the family seal and from that moment onwards his inheritance was returned. Wherever the son would press his finger on a wax receipt, the price for anything was paid in full. This lost child now looked like his father, walked like his father, and could rule like his father.

Even if the story stopped there, it would have been offensive enough, challenging enough, and glorious enough…

…but, like a man drunk with joy, the father puts no limit to the occasion. He continued his display of extravagance with a party: “Bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate,” exclaimed the father between smiles, hugs, and tears of joy.

There were zero accomplishments to highlight, no Hallmark holidays on the calendar, and no sports games won. This party was purely based on unconditional love. This happy dad was willing to show off his mercy and celebrate the fact that his boy was alive, and everyone was invited to taste and see that this father was good.

In telling this parable, Jesus was not trying to define the quality of the sinner; He was exposing the character of His Father.

He was changing the conversation away from our capacity to do right or wrong and redirecting our gaze to see how His love transcends individual behaviors.

God the Father is the true prolific Father for every son and daughter. With you He is, “Recklessly extravagant, having spent everything, given in abundance, and oh so lavish.”

Our challenge now is to accept the embrace, wear the robe, put on the ring, and call ourselves as our Father sees us: son, daughter, heir.

This story is one of 26 short inspirations in our book, Be Prolific: Do Success Different.

Unfortunately, this book is currently out of print and unavailable, but if you’d like to check out any of our other digital resources, you can view them on our resource page.

Carlos has been teaching about God, the Father, for more than twelve years. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico but was transformed and trained in the renewal at Catch the Fire Toronto. Together with his wife, Catherine, they serve as Pastors of Catch The Fire Raleigh, but more importantly as parents to Alejandro and Sebastián. They live in North Carolina and travel to the nations sharing their passion for the Holy Spirit and the Good News of Sonship. Check out his blog happysonship.com & connect with him on Twitter.

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Showing 27 comments
  • Roy Campbell

    May we use your messages in our church bulletin from time to time?

    • Derek Gillette

      Hi Roy,

      Absolutely! Would you like me to send you a full copy of the book? Happy to email it over.

      There’s some more really good stories in there,

      Derek

  • Eric J Sokoni

    Very inspiring God bless you

  • Liz

    Beautifully expressed . Would love to share with my youth group, with your permission.

  • William Meriwether

    This is a terrific story that Jesus tells about how God lavishes his love on us, even though we do not and could never deserve His love. How He is willing to do what is humiliating in the sight of man to redeem His creation! Amazing Grace! Thank you for sharing this.

  • William Meriwether

    Can I get a copy of this book? If so, please let me know how and how much. Thank you and God bless!

  • Lai Shosanya

    I can’t seem to fully appreciate the wonder of the Father’s extravagant love. Each time I think about it. #AmazingLove

    I’ll love to have a copy please…

  • Ken Smeader

    Would love a copy. Thank You!

    • Derek Gillette

      Hi Ken,

      Absolutely. Just emailed it to you.

      Enjoy and thanks so much for reading the blog,
      Derek

  • G. L. Degeddingseze

    I would like to get a copy of this book.

  • Ben Kanehen

    i would love a copy!

    Redemption is wonderfully powerful indeed. “you will never know the depths of the Father’s love, until you know the depths of your own sin” …forever grateful. thanks for the reminder

    • Derek Gillette

      Yes Ben! Redemption is incredibly powerful and a value that deserves to be spread around a bit more.

      Let’s do it!

  • Bryan Brannon

    Would love a copy of the full book if possible!

  • Kevin

    Inspiring picture of God’s extravagant love. Would love to read more if you will share the book with us.
    Thanks,
    Kevin-

    • Derek Gillette

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the comment. Book has just been sent your way. I agree too, I love the way Carlos tells this story. He actually has a full length book out that continues in on this theme. It’s a good read.

      -Derek

  • Graham Faulkner

    Your comments on this passage of Scripture give wonderful insight into our Fathers heart for us. I would love to get a copy of your book.

    Bless you
    Graham

  • Ernest Turner

    I’d love to have this little book from Carlos. He has done a lot of research and this story shows the length to which the Father would go for us. He really loves us so much. Good stuff.

  • Reinhard Erb

    I would love a copy of your book.

  • Rick Nier

    I also would love to read more stories like this. Nice job!

  • Duncan McIntosh

    Can’t help seeing the parallel story in the debtor’s enormous debt being forgiven but failing to forgive a little debt for another. If God has welcomed me back with such extravagant love, how much does my love have to grow?
    I’d appreciate more of his “stories!”
    God bless your work!

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