The Love of the Father
Excerpt Taken from Fatherly Talk
We read of the love of the Father in our introduction into the New Testament within the famous verse of John 3:16, how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. We also know the great extent of the love of Jesus for us (Romans 5:8). There has never been a problem about the revelation of God’s love to us; the problem has always been as to whether we understand and receive the revelation of God’s love. Not everyone of us know how to receive and appreciate the great love of the Father.
In the parable of the talents, three servants are given different amount of talents: to the first, five talents, to the second two talents, and to the last servant one talent (Matthew 25:14-30). The first produced another five talents, the second produced another two talents but the last servant had hidden the original talent and not produced any results. The strangeness of the story is also the fact that it would have been naturally easier for the one with one talent to produce as he had only one responsibility and that was to multiply that one while the other two servants had more responsibility and yet succeeded gloriously. The answer is revealed in the one talent servant. Since in this story, the owner represents God and Christ, the perception of the owner by the servant is as follows:
1. He perceived that the master was a hard man reaping where he has not sown and gathering where he had not scattered seed (Matthew 25:24). Such accusations cannot be true for it is against the law of the Bible which states clearly that everyone reaps what they sow (Galatians 6:7). He might not have seen how the master sows or scatters seed but it is a fallacy to think that one can reap what they did not sowed. It would be equivalent to calling the master a thief.
2. The servant also expressed his fear and reacted by hiding the one and only talent he had (Matthew 25:25).
In his judgment and punishment of the owner, the owner reveals the true nature of the one talent servant: he was wicked and he was lazy (Matthew 25:26). Who do we believe, the owner or the one talent servant? Of course the owner, for the other five talent and two talent servants had no such problems with the owner. The real reason why the one talent servant did not multiply the talent was because he was lazy and probably did wicked things which the owner knows about (could be the very reason why the owner tested him with one talent) (Matthew 25:26).
The above parable illustrates how strange perception can be. We perceive other people through our own inner perception and lenses. We sometimes see the reflection of ourselves in others, whether good or bad. The wicked and lazy servant perceived the master to be wicked and lazy. When we judged other people, we are judging ourselves (Matthew 7:1-2). The same measure we use is the same measured back to us. How then can we perceive truth? Only the Spirit of truth can show truth. Only God who has no darkness in Him can perceive all of us for who we are. And only in His Spirit and light can we perceive the true nature of people (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
For this reason, despite having created the whole world in His great and abundant love, people still mistrust and misperceive God. Some people see God as a cruel master because of the cruelty in their own hearts. Some others perceive God as lacking love because they themselves lack love. We see our own belief system and convictions reflected back at us when we see God through our own eyes. The Bible has the story of the prodigal son and the father that clearly illustrates this misperception of God. The story of the prodigal son is not really just the story of the prodigal son, rather it is the story of the Father of the prodigal son who represents our loving Father in heaven (Luke 15:11-32).
The prodigal son asked (demanded) for his inheritance from the father and received it. He spent all that he had and when he was in want, he ended up working in a pig sty. In great hunger such that even pig’s food looked good to him, he reasoned within himself that it was much more better to work as a hireling for his father than to remain where he was (Luke 15:14-17). He even was willing to repent, acknowledged his sin and be disowned remaining just a hired servant. We then have the famous story of the prodigal son’s father running to the lost son from afar putting on the best robes on him, plus rings and a pair of sandals on his feet, slaughtered the fatted calf for a celebration. The elder brother upon hearing of the celebration became angry and refused to go the party. His anger was probably directed at the father and the brother. He clearly stated that even though he has served the father faithfully all these years without transgression, his father had never gave him a young goat that he might make merry with his friends. Thus we have the contrast of two sons who had grown up and lived with the same father. One a transgressor and the other a law abiding man. The saddest thing was that both did not know the love of the father.
The prodigal son was like one of those who knew how to claim his rights and knew how to wriggle his way to have his needs met. He claimed his right of inheritance and received it. In famine and having nothing, he knew how to join himself to a swine herdsman. And when he compared how good the life of the servants under his father with the hard life he was living, he decided to become like one of the father’s servants. At no time was it ever stated that he returned to the father because he loved the father. He was only interested in himself. That was his life. It typifies many Christians who are only in it for themselves. As long as God provides for them and feed their hunger, they will serve Him. Like the people who would make Jesus king because He could supernaturally feed them (John 6:15). Their motivation for singing Hail King Jesus would have been that which arises from self-interest. The prodigal son did not return to the father for the sake of the father. He cared not that his father was pining for him and longing for him each day. He cared not that his father was in pain and distress wondering where his beloved son was. He cared not for the sense and loss of the father. He never cared when he demanded for his inheritance nor did he cared when he was returning home to work for the father. He only cared for himself. In the midst of all his selfishness, he never ever saw the heart of the father. He never knew the love of the father nor could he empathise with his father’s compassion.
The elder brother did not fare better either. He served the father. He obeyed the father. He was law abiding and most likely was very thrifty since he had never had a party with his friends before. He was also self-righteous for he considered himself better than his brother pointing to the harlotry of the younger brother. In all his law abided-ness, in all his self-righteousness, in all his hard work slogging day and night to serve and work under the father, in all his thriftiness and avoid waste, he never knew the love of his father nor understood his father’s compassion and love. It was clear that he had no confidence in his father’s generosity and love. For he was the opposite from his brother; his younger brother was selfish and dared to ask and demand of the father; he was not confident in his father’s love for him and never dared to ask of the father. All his life working under the father and yet he still was not confident in his father’s love. His father had made it clear that all the time that he was with the father, everything was his to use and be blessed. It was not the father who stopped him from having a party and enjoying the goat and all that was in the household, it was his own perception of the father that prevented him from enjoying the father’s generosity. It is quite apparent that he did not understand the father’s love and compassion for he was angry at the love shown to the younger son. He never shared the pain and the loss of the father’s heart when his younger brother left home. He never shared in the constant grief and compassion and pining of the father for the younger son. Because he did not shared in the sorrow of love of the father for the younger son, he could not thus understand the joy that the father had when the younger son returned.
Two brothers living in the same house, brought up by the same father, having opposite personalities (one a transgressor and the other a law abiding man) both of them did not know the father’s love. How can this be? I believe that the basic reason is that the two sons probably never ever took time to be with the father to understand his heart, to understand his nature, to know him for who he was and is. One son was too involved in satisfying his own desires, the other son was too involved in work and duty to be with the father. One took from him, the other dare not take from him. Both failed miserably in the test of love for the father. Where were the empathic tears that the elder brother could shed for the father, when finally the pining and agonising pain of the loss of a father for his son was healed upon his brother’s return? Where were the tears of the younger son, that said that he missed the father and wanted to be with him forever? Nay, they both did not know the father’s love.
In a similar way, we who are believers all share the same Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But do we know the Father? Do we truly know His love? Do we feel His heart beat? Do we know His love for all of His creation? Do we feel His compassion flowing in our veins? Do we truly, truly love Him?
May we know the Father’s heart and let our heart beat in tune to His heart beat of unconditional and eternal compassionate love.
In Christ Jesus
全世界最快樂、沒有遺憾的人!!YUI – LIFE
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