Take a minute, take a breath, slow down and read Luke 15:11-32. It’s that story you know about the son who left home. I was wondering, what if it was about you? How far from home are you right now? Not the home you live in, but where God lives. Are you close to where He lives? Have you been at “His house” today? The fact of the matter is that we all seem to wander from our spiritual home. The tug away from home can be as innocuous as the daily ups and downs of life, or as strong as the pull of temptation, but somehow we start ignoring the voice that first called us into a relationship with God.
Henri Nouwen is a Holland-born ordained priest and author. He travelled to Saint Petersburg, Russia to gaze at a Rembrandt painting called The Return of the Prodigal. He spent about seven hours over a few days staring into the painting. What if you looked at it for seven minutes? In his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son Henri writes over one hundred pages about the painting. He notes that, “All of the gospel is there. All of my life is there. All of the lives of my friends are there. The painting has been a mysterious window through which I can step into the Kingdom of God”. I think this painting can speak to us deeply if we’ll slow down for a while and allow it to work on us through God’s Holy Spirit.
The son had left home dressed in a wealthy man’s clothes, yet he returns dressed in rags. He’s done with the excesses and wretchedness of the debauched life. He comes home with nothing but shame to show for himself. Yet, he finds a father who is gracious and forgiving. No lecture here, just love and open arms! Is that how you treat those who have wandered? And, what about that elder brother on the side? He’s angry and jealous. Have you been the elder brother lately?
When I’ve looked into this picture, really looked, I have seen myself in all three characters. What about you?
Greg Leith is the CEO of Convene. He was born in Canada and lived in all four corners of North America. His career spans over 35 years of senior leadership roles in corporate, non-profit and academic sectors.
Recently, he served as Director of Strategic Alliances for 13 years at Biola University in California.