Do you have a prodigal in your life? If so, how are you responding? Are you helping or just helping them stay happy in their pigsty?
From our other readings:
What is death? Why do we call an unbeliever spiritually dead? What is the second death?
And what about you … Are you a talker or a doer? Talking about God isn’t living for God. Talking about winning souls is not sharing the Gospel. Talking about prayer is not prayer.
The care and feeding of prodigals
Yesterday I talked about the danger of having a “ho-hum, I’ve heard that before” attitude about the stories in the Bible that are familiar to us. Today’s reading is another very familiar story, that of the “prodigal son.”
So often when we read this well-known parable, our minds go to all the prodigals we know. Or maybe we think about our own testimony, how we were once prodigals. And there are great lessons to be learned in those areas.
We need to identify those prodigals we know so we can pray for them, but we also need to take a closer look at some of the other important points in this parable.
Let’s start with the father in the story, how he responded, not just to his son’s homecoming, but also to his prodigal years.
Perhaps you have a prodigal, a son or daughter you have prayed for and wept over. You’re probably looking forward to the day you can say, “My son (or daughter) was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v. 24).
We often fret and push and prod our prodigals to repent and come home. And, all too often, instead of letting them spend enough time in the pigpen to come to the end of themselves, we keep “feeding them”—bailing them out of many of their problems, not understanding that the “hunger” they are experiencing is God’s method of helping them come to their senses.
This father was watching for his son, but he didn’t go after him, he didn’t send him money or help him in some way when he was “down on his luck.” It’s important to remember, the father in the story represents God who knows everything that is going on in the lives of His prodigals, yet let’s us go our way and lovingly allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions.
And what about the “older brothers” in our families? The older brother in the story represents the Pharisees with their self-righteous, self-sufficient attitudes. Continue reading