Putting out the Welcome Mat

When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father....”
(Luke 15:17-18)

Most of us can identify in some way with the story of the Prodigal Son. He had spent all his father’s money on wild living and “came to his senses” when he ended up working on a pig farm just to survive and noticed that what the pigs were eating suddenly looked good to him. That’s when he decided to go back to his father, admit his bad decisions and offer to work as a hired hand on his father’s estate. The surprise was that he wasn’t given even a chance to apply for the job. He was welcomed as a son. Before he could get a word in edgewise he was smothered in his father’s love and a welcome-home party began.

What can you do in the face of this other than put the welcome mat out to all other scoundrels out there like you? This is like no love we have ever known before or will ever know. God the Father’s great big hands are open to us and we are embraced without judgment. How can you ever wish for anyone else to pay for you got for nothing?

We crawled back home ready for the worst – ready to eat crow. We were prepared for the taunts from the others in the family – even from the servants. We weighed the cost and decided the embarrassment was worth it. We calculated all that. We left bragging and returned in humiliation. We left on top of the world and returned a failure. And yet there is no “I told you so” speech. There is just joy and acceptance. We come home willing to negotiate a servant’s position and receive a son’s welcome. One day we were sucking up to pigs, the next we are escorted into our father’s house and in the process, we discover the wonderfully good news that we’ve always had a home here. This is where we belong.

Okay, let’s take this one step farther. Let’s think about all the other sons and daughters who are out there ready to come home – looking for a place to belong. How are we going to treat them – like the older son who wanted the younger to pay for his sins, or like the father who forgave?

Once we’ve experienced this, you and I need to put the welcome mat out to everyone – even those we’d rather not have in our family. If there is a selection process, that’s up to the Lord, not us. As far as we know, we are in the business of welcoming sons and daughters of the King, and that includes everyone.

So put out the welcome mat and get ready to have a party!

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

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