In Luke 15, we find the parable of the prodigal son. How would you expect the father to react when his son returns? How would you react if you were the parent? We might expect the son to receive a punishment, or for the father to turn the young man away. But what actually happens is this: when the father saw his son, ‘his heart went out to him’. In fact, he runs out to welcome his child! It’s a snapshot of God’s love for us. Max Lucado sums up the story this way: ‘The tale involves a wealthy father and a wilful son [who]…takes his inheritance [to] Las Vegas and…wastes [it] on slot machines and call girls…Broke [and] too proud to go home, he gets a job sweeping…stables at the racetrack. When he finds himself…[eating]…their oats, he realises enough is enough…Off he goes, rehearsing his repentance speech…But…“When he was…a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion” [v.20 NKJV]…We expect crossed arms…a furrowed brow…a guarded handshake…a stern lecture…Instead [the father said], “Bring out the best robe…a ring…sandals…and…the fatted calf” [v.22-23 NKJV].’ The ring symbolised delegated authority – the one who wore it acted in the name of the one who gave it. It’s like a business trusting an employee with the company credit card. When we come to God, we’re given authority to act in His name. Whenever we speak the truth, we’re His ambassadors (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Whenever we’re wise with the resources He gives, we’re His good stewards. Whenever we promote peace and forgiveness, we’re His ministers. We have the privilege to represent our heavenly Father, so let’s bless others with encouragement and affirmation, and speak words that strengthen them, just as God encourages, affirms, and strengthens us!