As I sat listening to others share prayer requests the other night, the Lord deposited a “word” into my spirit. My heart rate didn’t increase when the word came, and I didn’t see any flash of lightning. What I heard was a very quiet, but clear, “This is the year of the prodigal’s return.”
Like I mentioned, nothing dramatic took place as his word dropped into my spirit. But I caught it. It was so clear; and when I heard it I immediately believed it. It was a word wrapped in the gift of faith. It’s about all I’ve been able to think about ever since that evening.
I have started writing a book about prodigals, and their return home. And, the part we have to play in receiving them.
This is just one chapter. I plan to finish the book in a month or so, and make it available as an EBook. If you’re interested in receiving a copy when it’s finished, please comment as such in the comment section of this post. Thanks.
Here we go…
A Dad and his Boys
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. (Luke 15:11-13 NLT)
The father had two sons, not just one. The number two is important. Why? Because there’s something to learn from both boys, not just the “wild” one.
I wonder what made the younger son think about getting out on his own? Really, when it comes right down to it, it’s natural for a young man to want to be on his own. So I wonder if maybe he’d heard stories from his high school classmates (you just KNOW he went to a “Christian” school) about life on the far side of the world. Life in the fast lane, perhaps.
Maybe he’d heard of all the opportunities available for a guy like himself. Just because he wanted to be on his own didn’t mean he was rebellious. Sure, he could have been. But Jesus never mentioned it. He DID say the kid wasted his inheritance in the distant land.
Let’s discuss the inheritance the younger son asked his father for. Asking for the inheritance wasn’t out of line for people of that day. The father typically would divide his inheritance while he was living, and give his heirs an opportunity to learn financial responsibility and integrity while he was alive to assist them. Did you notice the father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons? In other words, both sons received their inheritance. Both sons, not just the younger one.
If you are a parent with more than one child, or if you have a brother or a sister, you’ll know that no two kids are alike. Just because they’ve been raised in the same house, by the same parents, doesn’t mean they will have the same dreams, values, or motivation. They are unique in almost every sense of the word. And although they can be so hard to understand and even harder to raise, their uniqueness is really a very beautiful thing.
Scripture doesn’t reveal if the father was a strict disciplinarian or a push over. So, let’s just say the father was just and fair. It doesn’t appear that he tried to persuade his younger son from leaving. Some might consider that as not caring about his son enough. Maybe, maybe not. I like to think that the father was proud of his son for going after a dream.
Our Heavenly Father had his son stand in front of him one day and say,
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (Hebrews 10:8-10 NLT)
Jesus left heaven and moved to a distant land. Not as a prodigal, but as someone committed to doing God’s will. He came to seek and save that which was lost.
Maybe that’s what the younger son was thinking. Maybe he had good intentions at the beginning. You know, sort of like Lot when he eyed the land before him, as he and his uncle were separating. Perhaps, I say perhaps, Lot felt the call to go to Sodom and Gomorrah to tell them about El Shaddai, the God of Abraham. Maybe. Or, perhaps.
Sometimes, even people as spiritual as you and I get sidetracked and moved away from our original plan. Right?
It’s not clear at all as to why the younger one left home. As the younger, maybe he was tired of living in the shadow of the older, and perhaps, the first born. Think about family dynamics for a moment. With at least two kids in the family, it’s natural to at least mentally compare one child with another. At times the “mental” comparisons can lead to “vocal” comparisons. “Why can’t you act like your brother?” Yeah, right.
Not to besmirch the father of this story, and understanding he can be representing our Father God’s love and patience, the truth of the matter is the father IS NOT Father God. So I doubt if this father was as perfect as everyone believes. There COULD have been some friction between the younger son and the father. Or there could have been words between the older son and his younger brother. Nothing is said of the older son and what he did with his portion of the inheritance. There’s a reason for that which we’ll look at a bit later.
There are a number of reasons why people launch out on their own. Good reasons. Natural, God designed and God blessed reasons.
I like to believe the younger son left home because he had a dream. A dream which couldn’t be fulfilled until he left home, venturing out on his own.
By the way, God loves a dreamer.
And God doesn’t mind if you and I give this younger son, and each other, the benefit of the doubt.
What do you think?