Prodigal Sons

  • Friday, January 28, 2011
  • We all know the story…we know the story well. In fact, for many of us, it is OUR story…

    Frustrated and exasperated by perceived restraints placed upon the lifestyle he so longed to experience, the second-born son of the respected community leader strategized his exit. To himself he reasons, “All I need is money and then I could be free. And what good is money when I am old? How do I even know if I will GET to be old?!? Besides, life and all its incredible opportunities are simply passing me by.” So in the mold of what would much later in history be labeled, “Hippie” (a dated illustration for sure), the young man grabs for early retirement. He would quit work and live it up BEFORE he was too old to enjoy it! Totally intoxicated with self, he basically declares to his father that he wishes he were dead, saying, “Father, give me the share of the estate that belongs to me!” With cold, hard cash in hand, the boy leaves the farm.

    It is hard to recall the last time that the visible response of our gathered Body took me off sermon. But those of you who were able to 4-wheel navigate the streets on Sunday must have seen it. As we spoke of the qualification of shepherds, that they be sexually pure men totally faithful to their wife, and that they be wise fathers skillfully and gently parenting their children, we faced that challenging phrase, “…having children who believe (literally “are faithful”), not accused of dissipation or rebellion”. We noted that this description of God’s man addresses both that season when his children are under his roof and immediate oversight AND that next season when they have grown to an age where they are free to chose their independence. Paul has NOT told Titus to accuse of failure those fathers whose adult children are acting out rebelliously. What he WAS telling him is, “If that is the public reputation of a man’s family, do not saddle him with the responsibilities of shepherding the local church.” But the weight of that phrase fell on us last Sunday with unexpected solemnity. As you recall, there was an amazing “hush” in the room. So many are bearing the burden of wayward children stubbornly resisting the gracious call of the Savior. “Dissipation.” A snapshot in a long history. A season of sorrow endured with unwavering hope. A “prodigal” child…

    Dad never exchanged hope for despair. In the depths of his soul, he KNEW that his beloved son knew…“I have a home…I have a home where I am loved…I have a home…I can go home.” And to the incredible joy of the broken-hearted father, one day his dissipating, rebelling son came home.

    But the shocking conclusion to Jesus’ Prodigal Parable is this. The REAL prodigal son was NOT the son who had, in a fit of independence and callous irreverence, demanded what he felt was rightly his when his father would finally die. That was shameful, yes, reprehensible! But the greatest sorrow of the story was the shocking discovery that the father’s TRUE prodigal child was the son who had never LEFT the farm! “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him…” Luke 15:28

    We all know the story…we know the story well. In fact, for many of us, it is OUR story…

    We have a Heavenly Father who knows the heart. And His Spirit unrelentingly cries, “You have a home…you are loved…you can come home!”

    See you Sunday, Church!
    Pastor Tom


    david said...

    The father asks his two sons to help him. There is one son who says to his father, "I'd be happy to help you, dad!" But he never does it. There is another son who says, "No, I won't help you!" But then he later felt bad about how he treated his father and went and helped him. Which one ultimately did the will of his father? Some rebellious children are still in the "I won't do it" stage, BUT there is still hope. Pray for a change of heart, no matter what the Lord has to bring into their life to accomplish it, and then walk through the dark days alongside them and love them with the father's love.

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