Last Sunday morning and evening the great and terrible Lord [Nehemiah ch 1, ch 4, Psalms 99:3] put on my heart to preach from Luke 15:20 the message “When Resolve Becomes Deed”. There is an old Latin phrase “acta non verba” {actions not words}; it means that ‘actions speak louder than words’. In this instance, as the great “prince of preachers” Charles H. Spurgeon pointed out, the prodigal son’s intent to return to the father and repent of his actions is all well and good, but utterly useless until the intent is put into action. As they say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Let me say that I am glad the younger son finally ‘came to himself’ and decided he’d had enough of the pig pen. Only God knows how many parents through the centuries have themselves lain awake at night on a tear soaked pillow hoping and praying for a wayward child to “come to himself / herself” and come home. They would join us in agreeing that the intent to repent is useless if not carried out.
But finally the son decides to humble himself and go home to ask for mercy and forgiveness. In v. 20 he was “yet a great way off” when his father saw him! How far off is a ‘great way’? I don’t know…but nonetheless his father saw him coming! How’d he know it was him? How’d he recognize him so far away? How’d he even spot the young son coming from so far away? Myself, I think that father loved that son as much as you love yours! He’d been watching. I see him in my imagination, staring down that long road…I see him sitting on a milk stool glancing through the barn door toward that road waiting, hoping. I see him in the field picking the peas and glancing every few moments up that road. Likewise I see that faraway look in his eyes as he eats his evening meal, his mind in the far country hovering over his wayward son.

Perhaps you find yourself looking for your own prodigal to return? Perhaps you ARE the prodigal? Can I tell you friend that our great and terrible God is also a loving and merciful Father! He waits for you to turn intentions into deeds. He waits for you to come to yourself and begin the journey home. I tell you more, that father was watching and waiting and hoping and what joy when he finally saw that son coming! Even though it was a great way, he ran to his son and fell on him before a word was spoken! I tell you that our Father will run to you and fall on your neck before you can even say a word for He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. WHY? Because He is compassionate and merciful! Never mind the filthiness of the pig pen, just come! Never mind the things you failed in, just come! Never mind what others will say, just come! Up sir, up ma’am, waste no more time planning to leave the pig pen – Come Home! The Father is waiting even now with kisses of love and mercy for you! We are all waiting for you! The fatted calf is ready, the robe awaits, the ring awaits. Come Home!