“There once was a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, I want right now what is coming to me.” “So the father divided the property between them.” Luke 15:11-12 (MSG) This story describes me to a tee. It’s the story of the prodigal son. What is a prodigal? The dictionary defines the word as: wastefully, recklessly, extravagant, yielding profusely;lavish, a spendthrift. The Message paraphrase calls it the story of the lost son. I prefer to call it the lost sons. Let’s look at the two, see if you can compare yourself to either, or both. Also keep in mind as Jesus tells the story, he’s relating it to both the “sinners” and the “saints”, and at the beginning of the chapter, the “saints were complaining how Jesus was eating with the “sinners.”
The first son took his share and hit the road, blew it on debaucherous living. He blew his inheritance on wine, women, and if it were today, drugs. He wound up living in a sty, sharing food with pigs. Then he came to. Headed for home with the intent of working as a servant for his father. When he arrived his father restored everything to him, including his title, son. Then the father throws a big party for him. The second son wouldn’t even come to his brother’s party, angry for the fathers reaction. The father asked the brother what his problem was. He was mad because he didn’t run off into sin, waste his share, but stayed with his dad. He expressed his disappointment in how his dad never offered him a party, and he was the good son, why wouldn’t he get some recognition.
I feel the story is truly showing the father’s heartbreak for the young son’s departure. As the young son was far off, his dear old dad was watching for him, probably every day since he had left because he loved him so. And then his heartbreak for the oldest son’s attitude, despising his younger brother and his own father. I see myself walking away from God to live as I chose, to be free to drink and drug, and whatever felt good to me, like son number one. And I see me as that good godly man who gets angry when I see the attention given to these drunkards and addicts, prostitutes, and felons, coming to God and everyone wanting their testimony. They never ask me to speak. I guess I should have had more bad consequences from my boozin’ and usin’. The steadfast follower of Christ is always there, working, volunteering, seemingly doing their best. The backslider returns and gets all of the attention, they envy, question God, and sometimes they quit all together. Very sad.
Did you see yourself? Jesus wanted more than anything for the “saints” to love the fact that He was doing their work…reaching the lost children of Israel, not condemning them. Eating with the rejects is what they saw. He wanted those “sinners” to see how much the father yearns for their return, come home, we’ll celebrate together, but I’m sure they saw their brothers disdain for them. I got the message, I hope you did too. If you’re the wanderer, come home, the Father needs you. If you’re the other, rejoice for your brother, neighbor, or anyone’s return to the Father’s house. Thanks for reading.