You might already know that the story is about the (Prodigal) son that asked for a share of the inheritance so he could leave home and do his own thing. He was granted his requests. He had a good time for awhile…until his money ran out, that is. Which meant that his friends ran out about the same time. And then he found a job slopping pigs. He was so hungry that the pig slop began to look pretty good. That’s when he decided he had to do something to take control of the situation.
Eureka! He got an idea!
We find him reasoning to himself that he will go back home and negotiate a deal with his father. He will tell his father that he is no longer worthy to be called his son. (Sounds humble, huh? Sounds like he learned his lesson, right? ) And he decides the best part about his brilliant plan is that he will plead with his father to make him one of the father’s hired servants.
Sounds good. But is it really? Deal or no deal? Pride or humility? Wisdom or Arrogance? What are the makings of a “real man” (or woman) of God?
There were at least three kinds of servants in those days:
1. Day Workers. They were paid on a day-to-day basis (no job security).
2. Hired Servants. They worked long hours on the estate, but lived in town (with their independence intact).
3. Bond Servants: They lived on the estate and worked very hard (job security, but no independence).
After all of his arrogance and foolishness and loss, when the prodigal was planning to return home, we see that he continued to want control of his own “hard-earned” money and to live apart from his father and keep his independence as well. He wanted to be a hired servant.
So, do we find a surrendered, humble man that has learned from his mistakes or do we find someone that looks a lot like US when we approach the throne of God the Father to make requests of Him in prayer??? Are we really saying, “I’ll serve you, but I still want my freedom to decide how that will actually play out”.
This story is often called the story of the Prodigal (or Lost) Son, and yet it is also the story of the Loving Father. (For some of you, this story will be a sad thing because you have never known what it felt like to be truly loved by a Father. And for you, this is an especially important thing to understand: it is an excellent illustration of the way our Heavenly Father is with us.) (Be sure to read the whole story in Luke 15). In this story, do you see that the Father never let the son tell him his plan? All the son got to say was that he was not worthy. The Father took it from there and gave the son much more than he ever had thought or imagined. Our Heavenly Father is just like that! (A word of caution: We can’t expect a shower of material things, but it can be guaranteed that whatever He (God, the Father) chooses for us will most certainly be better in the long run than we ever could plan out in our own puny earth-bound brains.)
However, it is also important to mention that a prodigal attitude breaks the Father’s heart as He stands waiting for us to come back home. When we stray or get distracted from fellowshipping with Him, He waits with a longing for us…He wants to shower us with His love. He is sad because of all we miss by not trusting Him to take good care of us. Dig deeply into the reading of His Word (the Bible). He is waiting there for you. He wants you to get to know Him. He has carefully chosen each word…to bless you!