The Word Among Us

Lent 2024 Issue

Everything I Have Is Yours

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Everything I Have Is Yours: Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Let me tell you about something that happened to me a number of years ago. Jeannie and I have been married now for thirty-eight years, but fairly early in our marriage, my relationship with my father-in-law (who is now with the Lord) became fractured and stayed that way for more than a decade. It seemed like it would never be resolved. We both had said and done things that hurt each other, and each of us was waiting for the other to admit he was wrong.

Then one Lenten season, I realized that I was the one who needed to repent. It wasn’t easy, but with the Lord’s help, I found the strength and the right words. When I asked my father-in-law for forgiveness, he answered, “I never thought this day would come!” He had watched and waited and prayed and hoped for years for me to return, and it finally happened. God’s grace had triumphed, and we experienced reconciliation.

A Father Who Watches and Waits. What an image of God our heavenly Father! When we were far away from him and lost in our sin, he never gave up hope. He is always watching and waiting for us to come back. In fact, on any day when we turn away from him—even in small ways—he continues to look for us to come back. He relives Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son: when the prodigal decided to come home, even when he was still a long way off, “his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

This is what Lent is all about. This is the very reason that God the Father sent his Son to die for you! In each of the next forty days, your heavenly Father will be looking out for you. Every day he will call you by name and invite you to come home. It doesn’t matter whether it feels like this the case; Jesus’ parable tells us who our Father is and how much he longs for his children to be restored to him.

This Lent we are going to dive into this moving parable (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus’ story is so full of insights that we will never exhaust all the riches of what Jesus wanted to say through this story!

First, we will trace the footsteps of the son who walked away from the Father (page 4). Then we will walk in the footsteps of the older son, who was filled with bitterness when his brother returned (page 10). Lastly, and most importantly, we will encounter the father (our heavenly Father), who waited and waited and then ran anxiously to greet his son (each of us) when we came home (page 16).

As you pray over this parable this Lent (many times, I hope!), prayerfully ponder each character in the story—especially the father. Ask the Lord what he wants to say to you. Then listen closely as he tells you, “My child, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).

Jeff Smith
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