Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.

Prodigal Son

“There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them.  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living.  And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.”  (Story of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-14)  
The story of the Prodigal Son maybe the most popular story in the bible; maybe it is the most popular story ever told.  Some people see it as a story about the son who loses his way and then finds it again. Others view it as a story about the Father, who never loses hope in his son’s return and longs to restore the son to his rightful place in the family.  And then there are those who view the story from the perspective of the older brother who is pissed off about the grace and forgiveness extended to his underserving younger brother.  Of course the story is about all of these things; but more to the point, the story is really our story, yours and mine.  It is about us — all of us.
We have been given a glorious inheritance. (Eph. 1:18) Each of us has received an unshakeable kingdom. (Heb. 12:28) Grace upon grace has been lavished upon us. (Eph. 1:7-8)  Through baptism the virtues of faith, hope and love have been infused into us.  We have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.  (Eph. 1:3)  Everything we need to live the abundant life has been provided. (John 10:10)  The banquet has been set and the feast readied. (Luke 14:16-17)  Yet everyone of us in turn, just like the prodigal son, has taken all our property and journeyed into a foreign land where we squandered it all away.
Each of us has come to a season in our life, or will find ourselves there at some time in the future, when we begin to be in want.  The son in the story finds himself in such desperate straights that “he joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into the fields to feed swine.  And he would have gladly fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.”  (Luke 15:15-16)   
I have never been in a foreign land in the midst of a famine; but there have been times in my life, when because of poor choices, willfulness or just a mindless wandering, I found myself in a location where nothing seemed to work. As long as I remained in that spot, I experienced a failure to thrive.  That is an unpleasant place to be and very frustrating because no matter what I did, nothing seemed to help.  Like the prodigal son, I looked for a way to satisfy my want but only got hungrier.
It seems to me a lot of us find ourselves in want.  We are not always aware of it and we seldom talk about it, but deep down it gnaws at us.  We know we desire more and would like to do better, but we continue to go through the motions of life ignoring the ache we feel deep inside.  This reminds me of the lyrics from the Tennessee Ernie Ford song, “you load sixteen tons and what you get another day older and a deeper in debt.”   We slowly slip into living a mediocre life.  Although believing in God, we live like he doesn’t exist.  And so we find ourselves stuck in this in-between place failing to thrive.  
So what can we do?  How do we escape?  Like the prodigal son we must come to our senses, remember who our Father is and do what he did.  Luke tells us:
“But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘  (Luke 15:17-19) 
Just like the prodigal son we need to start over; we have to retrace our steps until they take us home.  We have to return to the Father — to our heritage — to the place of blessing.
The Father is waiting is for us to come home — though we are squanderers of our souls — he waits, just as he did in the story.  
“But while [the son] was yet at a distance, [the] father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry.”  (Luke 15:20-23)
This great father runs to his wayward son because he longs for his return.  He cannot resist restoring everything to his beloved son.   And, as if that were not enough, he kills the fatted calf so they can make party together.  Our Father will do no less for us if we do no less for him.
  Why would we resist?  In the Father’s house, there is no suggestion of famine; it is a place of promise and overflowing blessing.  We have been given a magnificent inheritance.  (Eph 1: 18 )  God intends for us to live the abundant life. (John 10:10)  He has planned good works or us. (Eph. 2:10)  All we have to do is say yes to the life the Father has prepared for us.  Just say yes!

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