Lessons from the Prodigal: Sons in the World

Lessons from the Prodigal: Sons in the World
“A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that is coming to me.’ And so he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his estate in wild living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began doing without.” - Luke 15:11-14

In Jesus' prodigal son parable, we are presented with a man and his two sons. Usually when Jesus spoke of a man, He was referring to God the Father, and that is the case here. Thus, the two sons represent two types of believers who have been born of the Father. They each have a loving familial relationship with the Father, all their needs met, an expected inheritance, and both position and authority.

The older brother is obedient and more mature. He is patient, follows all the rules and commands of his Father's. Everything he does and has is for the betterment of the household. He knows that one day he will receive his reward, and he confidently walks in his position. It never occurred to him to demand favor or assert his preferential status. He was apparently content in his role as obedient son and heir.

The younger brother, however, was different. Instead of being content with the Father's guidance and provision, he wanted to be in control, believing that he knew better than his Father how to meet his own needs and desires. So, he asked for his inheritance immediately. Rather than using it to benefit the household, he desired to please his own needs. In his impatience, he could not even wait for his Father's death. He was, in effect, saying to his father, “I wish you were dead.” He left home, went out into the world and wasted everything (Luke 15:13). Then came the famine (Luke 15:14).

When we come to faith in Jesus, we become the children of the heavenly Father. Now through the Father we are heirs and have an identity and His protection, provision, love, and are called to His purpose. Those benefits are ours simply because of the relationship.

The Father holds us in His loving arms. Even when Satan attacks, we do not have to worry because we can find security in Him. All we need to do is stay focus on God, our brothers and sisters, and representing our family to the world. God has a purpose and plan for each of us, and He has every provision already prepared for our use. We have a mission and the means to carry it out.

The problem for many of us is that when we are young in the faith, we may believe that we know better about what will make us happy and too often we end up rejecting God's will for our lives. We waste His provisions to satisfy our desires in a land far from Him and before too long we wind up broken, wallowing with the muddy pigs, hungry, thirsty, and desperate for our home (Luke 15:14-16) and then we come to our senses and decide to return home just like the prodigal son (Luke 15:17-18).

On the way home, we rehearse the repentance speech, "We've sinned against heaven, against you, done all these evil things...." (Luke 15:18). But God sees us from a long way off, runs to embrace us, and calls us His dearly loved child (Luke 15:20). Although we left and rejected Him to go into the world, He never rejected us. We have always been and always will be His sons and daughters. He is only waiting for us to return home and fulfill His perfect plan. No matter how far we have strayed, our return is only a single step away.