The parable Jesus told about the youngest son who went to his father and asked for his inheritance before his father had died made me wonder, “How long will God wait for us?”
In the parable the father is “God”, the older son is the “religious of Jesus’ day, those who are judging everyone else and thinking they are better”, and the younger son is “everyone who becomes impatient and wants their reward now.” Some days I’m the older son and some days I’m the younger son. Which ever one I am I know that I’m a sinner. I’m not living the way God would have me live. And so I wonder how long will God wait for me to return to him.
There probably aren’t many people who haven’t wished for their inheritance when they were young and they could have used it to buy a house or a car or maybe start a business. But who among us would have had the nerve to go to our father and ask him for it before he died? I couldn’t have.
We all know people who have inherited great wealth in their youth and we have watched as quite a few of them didn’t’ manage their inheritance very well. Some may have lost everything and others may have come very close to losing it all. And we have all probably wondered why. We have probably thought it was ill advised to give such wealth to someone so young and so inexperienced.
We may have seen some like the “prodigal” who made terrible mistakes and realized that fact and were accepted back into the family circle, forgiven. It probably doesn’t happen very often.
All of us have watched these events unfold in the lives of people we know but we don’t often place ourselves in their shoes. The reason we don’t is because we’re not comfortable in someone else’s shoes. We’d like to think it’s because they don’t fit right but it might also be because we don’t want to admit that they fit us way to well.
Friends, we’ve heard this story many, many times before and we always tell ourselves that’s not me. I wouldn’t do that. The truth is every one of us does do that. At one time or another we have been either the younger son who asked for all or we were the older son who griped because our Father forgave someone of their wrongs and we didn’t believe they should have been forgiven. And we more than likely believe that the one asking for forgiveness isn’t truly sincere in their repentance.
Oh, but for the grace of God there goes you and me. In fact we have all been there. We know we have. We just don’t like to admit it. And we are amazed that God has waited this long for us. We can’t believe that he has forgiven us for those terrible things we’ve done. Or maybe we can’t believe that he will forgive us.
The truth is God will wait as long as it takes for us to come to our senses. Jesus is saying in this parable that God is just waiting for us to turn around and start walking back to him. He is listening as we are rehearsing our repentance speech. In fact he may be assisting us in our choice of words.
How long will God wait for us sinners to come back and repent? He will wait forever or at least until Jesus returns again.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “How long are we going to wait until we come to him with our laundry list of sins and beg him to take us back?” How long are we going to wait before we admit that we have squandered the gifts he gave us?
How long will God wait? He’ll wait forever. How long will we wait? Only we can answer that question.
Friends, God loves his children. He has given us our inheritance. Even if we haven’t used it wisely God will forgive us and grant us a reprieve. He will take us back. It will be as if we never left.
Where are you today? Are you running away, running back rehearsing your speech, or griping at how God has forgiven someone else and you’re thinking they don’t’ deserve it? Ask yourself, “How long will God wait for me?”
If you’re at that point where you know where you’re at then why wait. Come to him today and run into his arms. He’s still waiting for you.
God loves you and always will. Thanks be to God. Amen.