Luke 15:20- But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him,; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
We're looking at these 5 awesome verbs tucked away in Luke 15:20- almost centrally located in the narrative commonly known as the story of Prodigal Son. SAW. FILLED (with Compassion). RAN. EMBRACED (threw his arms around him). And, KISSED.
Again, when I was preaching this sermon (both times) I asked my audience of junior high and later, high school, Ukrainian kids to tell me what they thought the antonym for each of these verbs would be.
RAN is pretty simple I guess and all the answers I got were pretty interesting.
They said the opposite of RAN (to his son) is to run away from his son. Another good idea I thought was "hiding" and yet another was "to NOT be moved".
The first idea is perhaps the most direct "opposite", ie, to run away from. But that last idea resonated with me more I think. The idea of "not being moved" is haunting. I don't know about you but I want what I do and what I say- especially as it relates to "Kingdom work"- to move people. What if what you said and did failed to "move" people? Would you feel like you have no voice? Would you feel like what you do doesn't matter?
What would that young son had felt and thought if his return failed to move his father? What if there was no restoration? No party? No acknowledgement whatsoever. What if the father had treated his son as if he were "dead to me".
But that's not what the father did and it's not what our Heavenly Father does. He RUNS toward us. I had this random thought while preparing for this sermon: A lot of people don't get the concept of God looking for us much less RUNNING toward us. Why is that? Well, until we repent and turn towards God ourselves then we don't know what's going on behind us. God is pursuing us but we're too busy running away from Him to notice.
Stop it. Quit running. Turn around and see who's running toward you!
I mentioned at the close of yesterdays blog that there's a link between being "FILLED (with Compassion) and RUN". Here's the link: Running is related to being filled with compassion because compassion is not a passive idea, it's not a feeling. When you walk by a hurting person and feel sorry for them but fail to do anything about their pain, that is a feeling I suppose but it's not really, truly, compassion. Compassion is active. Compassion moves you to action. Being "FILLED with Compassion" demands movement. That's why the father RAN.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what you've probably heard in a 100 sermons about this story: Don't leave here without getting this absurd picture in your mind. This, probably well-to-do father, probably up in his years, probably dressed in a long robe with perhaps a layer or two underneath....RUNS. He lifts up the layers and maybe ties them about his waist or just holds them with one hand- flashing his old, pasty white legs to everyone...get the picture? This is conduct unbecoming a respectable businessman/father. This is undignified.
And he apparently doesn't care what it looks like. And we have the audacity sometimes to be ashamed of Him!
I wanted to use the song, "When God Ran", somewhere in my sermon but it's in English so I opted not to use it but I couldn't help but think of it when I was preparing this part of the sermon.
"When God Ran"