His hands reached into the bucket of slop. He grabbed an oozing mass and slung it into the feeding trough. He would have never dreamed a few months ago that this disgusting substance would actually look appealing to him now. This was only his lot recently, dressed in rags feeding pigs. He was once rich, driving the fastest chariots, eating the most exotic food, going home with a different girl every night. But then this terrible famine started and all of his riches were gone. Or rather, his father's riches which had been given him. At the thought of the old man, the son experienced a wave of homesickness. "In my father's house there is food enough for everyone, including the servants," he thought. That gave him an idea. "I will go back home to my father, apologize for what I've done, and ask to be hired as a servant!" With a fresh hope in his eyes, he threw the last of the slop in the trough, quit his job, and started the long journey home.

Every morning and evening, and several times throughout the day, the aging man climbed the stairs to the roof of his house to gaze into the distance. Most times he would just see a rabbit crossing the path or a distant hyena in search of its prey. But tonight was different. There in the distance he saw someone coming. He only had to watch for a few seconds before he knew that this was his son! He nearly fell down the stairs and started running to meet his son. He threw his arms around him and kissed him. Cutting into the boy's prepared speech, he called for the robe, the sandals, the ring, and the fatted calf to be killed. His son was home!

I often don't understand the love of a parent. As a child, however, I know that no matter what I do or how far I stray, I will always be loved and welcomed home. Many of us celebrated and thanked our fathers for their love this week on Father's Day. But as we do that, let's not forget that we are eternally loved by our Father in Heaven. If we leave Him, squander His resources, and end up dirty and hungry, He is still there, watching and waiting for us to come home. How long will he have to wait?

Starting the long journey home,

Pastor Sutherland

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