You Are Not Your Mistakes

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20-24 MSG

You’ve likely heard the parable of the Prodigal Son, as told by Jesus. The son of a wealthy man demands his inheritance to be given to him at an early age from his father. He runs off and squanders it partying. He ends up destitute with nowhere to go. He decides to return home and plead with his father to allow him to be one of his father’s servants, a life that will surely be better than where he has ended up. Yet, his father sees him off in the distance as he is returning and runs to him and embraces his son. The father did not even think about the lost inheritance or the sinfulness of his son’s behavior. The father only saw his son. He embraced his son and welcomed him right back into his life through a joyous celebration.

There are two significant details that Jesus intentionally includes in this parable: 1) the father ran to his son and 2) the father put the family ring on his son’s finger. As with all stories in the Bible, it is very important to understand the context of the time that this story was told. In the first century a Middle Eastern man never ran. His garments were too long and he would have to pick them up in order to run without tripping. Doing so would have exposed his bare legs and it was considered shameful for a man to show his bare legs at this time. Furthermore, the family ring, also known as a signet ring, was much more than a piece of jewelry. The engraving on the ring was used in sealing and authenticating documents for the purposes of conducting business. It was used in conducting financial transactions and business dealings. It would be akin to a father giving his son access to the business checking account today.

So, what is Jesus actually illustrating through this parable? The son, who squandered his inheritance, sinned against his father and his family and ended up in a destitute state, was immediately welcomed back into his family by the father. Not only was he welcomed back, but the father was so overjoyed to see his son that he risked public shame and ran to embrace him. And as an even greater display of the father’s love and acceptance of his son, he put the family ring on his finger, essentially giving the son full access to the family’s wealth.

The father did not see a sinful boy, who squandered what was given to him. The father only saw his son, whom he loved. 

As you embark upon business ventures of your own, it is very important to leave your mistakes behind you. If you step out to start your own business, it’s likely that you will stumble and make mistakes along the way. The entrepreneurial journey is a continual learning experience. Don’t let the mistakes you make, or have made in the past, become your identity. Your heavenly Father sees you as His son or daughter, without spot or blemish. He is well pleased with you!

Pray this prayer with me:

Heavenly Father, show me what it means to be Your son (or daughter) in whom you fully love, without condition or judgment. Show me what it means to be loved perfectly as your child no matter what I may have done in the past. You love me because I am yours. Amen

The entrepreneurial journey is a continual learning experience. Don’t let the mistakes you make, or have made in the past, become your identity.
Matthew Bell

This is an excerpt from Matthew Bell’s book The Kingdom-Empowered Entrepreneur. It is now available at Amazon.

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