The Spiritual Aroma of Your Home
And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:13-20KJV
Many of us know believers with unregenerate children who have forsaken their baptism and abandoned the Covenant. We readily recognize 'God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whomever He will have compassion.' (Rom.9 NKJ) We must always remind ourselves that sin is inherited from our father Adam; not grace. But parents do have a responsibility and will stand accountability before God as to how they bring up children of the Covenant. And it is faithfulness to those responsibilities that God often uses to bring our children to saving faith. One of those responsibilities is the spiritual aroma of our homes. A spiritually healthy home invites you to relax, enjoy, and you leave blessed and refreshed. So how do we cultivate a home that is spiritually healthy and will be a blessing to our children? I think this parable offers us several principles concerning the governance of our homes and the importance of our disposition towards our children.
Notice it is the younger son who approaches the father. The younger son approaches his father and demands his father "give him" his inheritance. In the Greek, this word is quite forceful. It carries the idea "give me what is due me, not what you think, give me what is my due!" And as this younger son is demanding his due, he is also severing ties. This is his inheritance. His father is still alive. What else is there to conclude than what Henry notes: "Give it me all at present in possession, and I will never expect anything in reversion, anything.'' But we don't see the father fly off into rage nor do we see him disown the lad and toss him out onto the street either. We see the father divide up his own livelihood and bestow it upon his foolish and naïve son. You can't help but see the contrast between this wicked and arrogant youth, demanding to be out from under his father's rule, and the boundless goodness and inestimable forbearance this loving father demonstrates to his son. The bottom line is this father loves his son even when he isn't worth loving. That is true fatherly love.
After the son has indulged in all the debauchery and wickedness he can stand, he is left with nothing. As Proverbs reminds us, "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man." (Pro 21:17a KJV) This young man spent his inheritance on the pursuit of pleasure and is left with nothing; not even friends. Notice that 'no man gave unto him.' Surely as this man was enjoying his pleasure there were an abundance of friends, but he learned the hard way "The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, But the rich has many friends." (Prov. 14:20 NKJ) But eventually this young man comes to his sense. He remembers his father's house. He remembers how even the servants, those not of relation, even they had plenty, and even some to spare! He remembered his father was a good ruler over his home and he ensured good and plenty to those under his care. His lack and need jolted his memory. Only by seeing his need did the son remember the goodness of his father.
The son knows his father to be merciful and forgiving. The son resolves to confess his sins and knows his father will forgive him. He expects forgiveness, but recognizes he has squandered his inheritance and expects mercy (to be a servant). But he never expected what he did find: GRACE! His father has compassion on him and welcomes back his lost son; a son who was dead but is now alive, he was lost but is now found. And this parable confirms what Jesus spoke of earlier in the chapter: "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7 NKJ)
Calvin sums up the lesson to be learned: "In the person of a young prodigal who, after having been reduced to the deepest poverty by luxury and extravagance, returns as a suppliant to his father, to whom he had been disobedient and rebellious, Christ describes all sinners who, wearied of their folly, apply to the grace of God. To the kind father, on the other hand, who not only pardons the crimes of his son, but of his own accord meets him when returning, he compares God, who is not satisfied with pardoning those who pray to him, but even advances to meet them with the compassion of a father." May we all be compassionate and merciful, as our Heavenly Father is towards us. And perhaps, if our children ever walk away, God will remind them of the compassion and mercy that they experienced in their father's house.