Our Generous Heavenly Father
By Rich Carmicheal
We have a very generous Heavenly Father. We see a glimpse of His generous nature in the parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11-32). When the prodigal son returned home in repentance, hoping only to be given the status of one of his father’s hired servants, he must have been overwhelmed by his father’s love and generosity: “…But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry” (vv. 20-24).
In reading this parable recently, I also noticed the father’s generous nature toward the elder son. When this son became angry over the father’s generosity toward the younger, prodigal son, the father reminded him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found” (vv. 31-32). The father had a heart for this son as well and considered all that was his to be the son’s as well.
While the father cared about both of his sons and was very generous toward them, the problem with both sons was that neither of them understood or appreciated him and his heart. The younger son obviously did not appreciate his father as he sought his inheritance and “journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living” (v. 13). Thankfully, he did eventually come to his senses and return to his father in humility and repentance, but even then did not realize how glad his father would be to receive him and how generous his father would be toward him.
As for the older son, though he had always stayed with his father, he clearly did not know his father’s heart. Had he really known his father, he would not only have celebrated along with him, but he would have also enjoyed the tremendous blessings of his father’s love and generosity.
Jesus also draws upon the image of earthly fathers in this teaching about prayer: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:7-11).
I am very grateful to have a dad who is very generous toward me. Like the father in the story of the prodigal son, I believe my dad would consider all that is his to be available to me. He has certainly blessed me over and over in my life with good gifts. I hope you have, or have had, a similar experience. But regardless, the reality is the generosity of even the most generous earthly father pales in comparison with the generosity of our Heavenly Father. I love the phrase Jesus uses: “…how much more…”!
When we ask, and seek, and knock, we can do so with great faith because of the compassionate and generous heart of our Heavenly Father. The more we get to know and honor Him, the more we will find out that all that He has is ours.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ...” (Eph. 1:3).