Fed up with the comfortable, sheltered life he had been living, a young man asked his father to give him his part of the inheritance so he could go out and have some fun. The young man’s father didn’t protest and try to convince him not to leave. He simply gave him the money and let him go. I’m sure he privately shed a few tears over the matter, because deep down inside his son’s decision had broken his heart.

The prodigal went out and had a wild time until he had spent every last cent. But when his money ran out, so did his friends. The only friends he really had, his parents, were back home watching and praying for his return. They believed he would come back, but he would have to do it of his own free will.

The prodigal desperately needed a job. Work came when a farmer hired him to feed his pigs. As the days went by, the once-proud young man became so hungry he wanted to eat the filthy pig slop. He had reached the point of total desperation. When he came to his senses, he decided to return home to his father. Seeing him a long way off, the father ran to meet him. His love was so great he couldn’t wait.

This is the same love God has for His children when we go astray. It breaks His heart when we choose to go our own way, yet He loves us so much He is willing to let us go and pay the price for our sins. All the time, He waits and watches for our return, ready to forgive us and welcome us back into His arms.

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Of all the wonderful things we can thank God for today, we ought to be most thankful for His unchanging love for us. Then we can show this love to the prodigals in our lives.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder