We’re all very familiar with the story of the prodigal son. Here it is, as our Lord Himself told it in Luke 15:11-32:
“11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[b] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
This story is about you and I who are believers in – therefore, children of – God. And as His children, we all relate to Him differently. The prodigal son knew that he had a rich father, and set out to enjoy the riches of his father. In his particular case, he actually ‘cashed’ out early on his inheritance, then went far from home and spent it all away. At that point he became a miserable poor son of a rich man.
But as werse 17 says, “when he came to himself…” meaning, when he came to his senses, he realised that he could actually go back to his father’s house, even if to serve as a servant.
A man who has never known Jesus-Christ is a prodigal son to God the Father. Like all men, he became lost thru the sin of Adam, and must come to his senses and seek to be reconciled back to God. A simple confession of belief in Christ is all he needs to make to be reconciled to the Father.
A believer who has backslidden is a prodigal child to God the Father. He needs to come to his senses and realize that he is on a dangerous path to eternal damnation. Like the prodigal son in the story, he needs to run to the Father and ask for forgiveness.
Now on to the other son, who became very angry when he heard that his brother was back, and that their father was so overjoyed by this that he threw a party. But really, why was he angry? BECAUSE HE HAD HIS OWN SONSHIP ISSUES TOO! He too was the poor son of a rich man, even though he lived in his rich father’s mansion, AMID ALL OF HIS FATHER’S RICHES.
As he confessed to his father in verse 29, he had been ‘serving’ his father all these years, BUT HE WAS WAITING FOR HIS FATHER TO TELL HIM TO GO AND TAKE A GOAT TO KILL AND ENJOY. He knew not who he was in his own father’s house! He made himself no different than the other servants by not enjoying his father’s possessions.
Brethren we must come to our senses and realise who we are in Christ: Co-heirs of God’s vast possessions!
Don’t be like the prodigal son in the stroy by being the type of Christian who just sees Christianity as a way to get rich off of God the Father. Don’t be the type that do not serve in His kingdom any way at all. We were saved to be used by Him to accomplish the great things that He wishes to accomplish in this world. Who did you think He would use to do this? The unbelievers? He saved you and put His Holy Spirit, therefore, His anointing, on you that you might work with that anointing to do great things in His name!
PLEASE NOTE that the prodigal son SPECIFICALLY DECIDED that he would go and be a servant to his father. That’s because he now had an understanding that he couldn’t just be his father’s child and not serve his father by helping to manage his vast estate.
THIS IS CRUCIAL: It was the lack of servant-son attitude in him that made him to take his father for granted in the first place. And it was the new-found servant-son attitude that would ground him firmly in his father’s estate, and help him be the type of productive son that his father would be proud of.
This was the attitude the Lord Jesus had when He was here on earth, and that He still has in Heaven right now. His food was to do the will of The Father! LIKEWISE, SERVING GOD MUST BE THE SINGLE GREATEST DESIRE OF EVERY PERSON WHO CALLS HIMSELF A CHILD OF GOD!
Now back to the other son, who was so consumed by the servant-son attitude that he failed to enjoy his son-ship in his father. He was so busy being productive and making his father proud that he forgot to live.
You see in verse 32, their father said “…for your brother was dead and is alive again…” The NASB version of the Bible says “for your brother was dead and has begun to live…”
Like the prodigal son, those outside of Christ aren’t really alive. They haven’t begun to live.
Like the prodigal son, those who once knew Christ but left Him, aren’t alive. They once begun to live when they came into Christ, but die again when they went back to their former lives of sin.
Like the prodigal son, those who do know Christ, and are living for Him, but aren’t serving Him in any way, are alive in Him quite alright, and will make heaven if they die in Him. But what kind of life are they living if their lives are all about them and not about serving Christ? There’s a joy of living that comes with serving the Lord that they will never know!
SO COME TO YOUR SENSES AND BEGIN TO LIVE FOR GOD AND NOT FOR YOURSELF! Then you’ll feel the true joy of living! The joy of living FOR THAT ONE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE FATHER CREATED YOU AND PUT YOU IN THIS WORLD!
And on the other side of the coin, like the older son, those who serve God but do not taste of His riches, and are in constant lack, either financially or in so many other ways, aren’t fully alive either. WHERE’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND UNBELIEVERS WHO DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO GOD’S RICHES AND BLESSINGS???
God told Abraham that He was going to use him as an example of the way it ought to be between Him and men. Therefore the goal of every believer ought to be to live the way Abraham lived. He serve God with all of his heart and might, AND ENJOYED THE BLESSINGS OF GOD IN RETURN! He was not a poor servant of a rich God! He was not a poor son of a rich father!
GET THIS: If the older son had known who he was in their father’s house, and had been satisfied in life, he wouldn’t have been angry that his brother was back, nor that his father was happy about it. He himself would have been overjoyed as well. His problem was insecurity. Because he didn’t know his place in his own father’s house, he felt threatened when his brother came back, and resent him. And because he was only service-oriented, he had a holier-than-thou complex.
Those of us who slave in God’s kingdom but have nothing to show for it resent those who seem to have it all but don’t serve much, and try to compensate this by having a holier-than-thou attitude towards them. AN ACCOMPLISHED BELIEVER is one who has discovered God’s purpose for him on this earth, and spends his life pursuing the fulfillment of that purpose. Such a believer has learned who he is as God’s child, and has learned how to tap from the wealth that God has made available for His children. He does not resent anyone for having much, but rather seeks to help everyone else become fruitful children of God as well!
SO COME TO YOUR SENSES, REALISE WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST, AND BEGIN TO LIVE AND ENJOY CHRISTIANITY!