"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.' " Luke 15:22
The story of the Prodigal Son and his father is one of the most familiar in the Bible. Yet one of the glories of His Word is that there is always something new to see. Such is the case with here. Several weeks ago in a prayer gathering, a friend remarked on how he had just recently seen something new in the story. It had to do with the fathers call to have the best of clothing and apparel brought out to his son. What my friend hadn't realized before was that when the father called for the best robe, ring and sandals, he was giving him HIS best robe and apparel. The best that he had was given to a son who had wasted all that he'd been given, and did not, by human reckoning, deserve any such favor. Yet so overjoyed was the father to receive a son considered dead and gone back to himself, that giving the best that he had was just an outflow of his joy and love. He didn't hold back in his giving. His giving wasn't based on whether his son deserved it or not, but upon his great love for a rebellious son who'd come home to his father. In this we see the great love of God for a fallen race; rebellious, undeserving of that love, who, when we come to Him in confession and repentance, also receive the very best of Himself. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than in the giving of His only Son, Jesus Christ. As the father clothed the prodigal with his best robe, so does God clothe those who come to Him, in spiritual poverty, with His Son, Jesus Christ. We, who without Christ are naked and poor, are made rich in Him through Him. He holds nothing back as He gives us the very best of Himself.
Preachers and teachers have exhorted us for generations to always seek His best in all things, to never settle for the good, but to pursue His best. That's a good teaching, but here's the question: In our zeal to have His best, what's our heart desire for giving Him ours? Think on that for a moment. How many times have we given Him our leftovers? Leftover time, resources, energy, talents, and giftings? How many sermons, teachings, worship services have we prepared, given, and received when we have presented much less than the best of ourselves? How many of these have we put together with a modicum of prayer and preparation? How many "worship services" have we come to, regardless of our part in them, mostly unprepared to worship? How many "sacrifices" that have cost us nothing have we offered up to Him? Not just on scheduled days of worship, but in our day to day lives? Lives that are to be an act of worship in themselves. How much of what we give Him of ourselves is really our best, and how much is just leftovers?
Here's another question to ponder. How much of what we give others in His name is really our best? He places people before us all the time. When He does so, do we even notice them, let alone their need? If we do, what is it that we "give" them? Do we give them a Scripture promise, along with a pledge to pray for them, and then move on, most often forgetting them altogether as we do? When we give to them, what do we give of ourselves? Someone said we will view others brought before us as either human interruptions or as divine appointments. Which is it for you and me? For we who eagerly seek His best, how eager are we to give both Him and those He loves, our best?
His best "robe." The Father gave that in Christ without a second thought. What is your "best robe?" Likely there are a number of them. How much of a delay goes by before you'll give it, them, to Him, to another? Or, do you continue with your leftovers? In every closet there are old, worn coats no longer used or wanted. No such coats exist in His, and He would never give us such. They do exist in ours. Are they what we offer?