Once there was a father with vast accumulated wealth. He was a fickle, eccentric old man who told his numerous children that, in order to be inherit his riches they would have to make him proud. They would have to come for monthly visits to his home, get good jobs, maintain a clean lifestyle, have a public image in accord with their birthright and, ultimately make him proud. His children were anxious to get their hands on his wealth, so they behaved accordingly, becoming model children and successful pillars of society: an example for all to follow. Their family gatherings were friendly, frequent and shallow, often involving petty arguments and sibling rivalry.
Down the street there was another father who was pretty different, eccentric and very misunderstood. He told his many children that he would shower them with wealth regardless of what they looked like or accomplished…just because he loved them. His children went in all sorts of directions. Some loved by society and some dreaded. Their family gatherings were on and off, but usually becoming ending in a wild exciting party with laughing, crying and everything in between. The kids couldn’t quite figure out the father, but they loved him with all their being as they blundered their way in their attempt to “make him proud”. They weren’t an “ideal” family, but they loved each other.
The first family behaved beautifully, but had no love.
The second was spotty in their behavior, but had more love than they knew what to do with. Most of us treat God as the first father. He has rules and regulations that he requires of us, and we obey because we should and, ultimately, because we want what he has to offer us. But the second Father is the Father of the Gospel. Because Jesus already perfectly obeyed, His love is lavished on us despite our behavior…just because he loves us. But because we are confident in His love, our behavior grows. We love him back and love each other because we are loved, not because we “have to” in order to get his riches. We begin to love Him, not what He offers.Do you want Jesus? Or what Jesus offers? Do you treat him as the fickle inheritance giver or the generous eccentric Father who just can’t stop loving you regardless of whether or not you make the “family” proud?