“But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
When I understood God loved me so much He gave his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me, I wanted nothing more than to have a personal relationship with Him. I ran down the aisle of the church, knelt at the altar, repented, and spoke my love for God in prayer. I rejoiced that day, but I didn’t realize then God also rejoiced in heaven. He killed a fattened calf and held a banquet in heaven for me. He did or will do the same for you. He has to celebrate and be glad because a new name is written in the Book of life. Another one of his children will live in heaven with him for eternity.
God wants us to rejoice and be happy with him when someone comes home to Him. Most reading this already believe in Jesus, but some of us have lost our joy like the older brother in the parable. We complain that we’re slaving even when we’re not doing backbreaking work or that our employers didn’t even give us a turkey for Christmas when they gave us a job and a paycheck. Some of us complain that God does more for others than He does for us. Others of us think that since we obey rules better, we are more deserving. But God doesn’t care about rules, He cares about love. He doesn’t want us to lose our joy.
Dearest Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus, listening to me many times a day, and celebrating my life. Help me not to come to you with complaints but with questions and concerns about how I can change to better serve you. Thank you for your love, allowing me to be with you always, and sharing Your kingdom with me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.