A certain man had two sons (Luke 15:11).
The younger son had more than a portion of goods, but that’s all he asked for – a portion. He didn’t save it nor did he invest it. He wasted it. Proverbs 19:4 tells us that wealth makes many friends. When he spent all, where were all his friends? When a mighty famine came, who could help him? He got a job feeding swine, but no one fed him. We don’t know how long he was in this condition, but one day he came to his senses. He was tired of his condition. He didn’t have to live like this nor did he have to die like this, especially when he had a father who had hired servants and enough bread to spare. He realized that what belonged to his father also belonged to him and headed home.
I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants (Luke 15:18-19). Do you know how hard it is to admit when you’re wrong? This young man humbled himself and repented. He just didn’t tell his father that he was sorry, but he showed it the moment he got up and turned away from the thing that turned him against his father. Repentance is when you turn away, but true repentance is when you stay away. Because of all the things he had done, he no longer felt worthy to be called a son. He was probably expecting to be rejected or turned away, but what he didn’t know was that his father was expecting him to return home. While the son was a great way off, the father saw him, ran towards him, hugged and kissed him. He didn’t say anything to the son. Even after the son repented, he said nothing to the son. Just when the prodigal son expected the WORST, the father spoke to his servants and said, ‘Bring forth the BEST’. He thought he was only worthy to be a servant, but the father dressed him as a son, not as a servant. The father restored him back to the position that he left. When you pursue God, you will without fail recover all. The prodigal son didn’t lose anything and his father didn’t lose him. That was worth celebrating so the father asked his servants to kill a fatted calf and said, ‘Let us eat and be merry’. The father didn’t allow him to dwell on the past. His father wasn’t mad at him and your Father is not mad at you. God just wants you to come out and separate yourselves. Separate yourself from the thing that separates you from Him and He will receive you. Like the prodigal son, leave your many lovers and make the Lord the Lover of your soul. Before the prodigal son left home, he wanted his situation to change, but when he returned home, he wanted to be changed.
While the celebration was going on, the elder son is in the field, but as he comes closer to the house, he hears music and dancing. When he asked one of the servants what was going on, the servant explained that his brother had returned. The bible says he was angry and would not go inside the house. He didn’t think his brother deserved a celebration, but I’m so glad that the father saw him first and not the brother because there would have been no love, compassion or forgiveness. The brother would have brought up his past, made him feel worse and send him right back into the world to die.
While the elder son was angry with his father for throwing a celebration, the father went out to him and pleaded with him to join in. The son said to the father, “Lo, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed I at any time your commandment and yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends, but as soon as this your son was come, which hath devoured your living with harlots, you had killed for him the fatted calf”. This son sounded more like a servant than a son. He was talking like he was saved by works, but you can’t earn salvation. It is a gift of God. He said that he never disobeyed his father, but sin was there. The more he talked, the more you could hear what was in his heart – pride, self-righteousness, religious spirit, anger, and jealousy. It’s not that he never sinned, but what he was saying was, I am a good person. I never sinned like my brother. He was with prostitutes. He probably thought he was better than his brother. Maybe he couldn’t love much because he hadn’t been forgiven for much. Maybe the reason why he couldn’t celebrate when his brother returned was because he had already celebrated when his brother left. He could have been happy that he was gone, but this was his brother. Why wasn’t he praying and expecting him to come back home?
The father said to the elder son, Son, you are ever with me and all that I have is yours. I know we call the younger son prodigal because he took what he had, left and wasted it, but the elder son was prodigal, too. Although he stayed in the same house with his father, his heart was far from him. He didn’t know who his father was and he didn’t know what he had as a result of his association. Had he known, he wouldn’t have asked his father to give him something that he already had. This son was toiling, worrying and working hard to get what he already had. He was trying to earn everything including his father’s love, but he already had that. It was love that went after him. It was love that didn’t want him to stay outside and remain angry.
‘All these years’, he could have been celebrating. He could have been merry. His brother wasn’t the only one who wasted something. He wasted a lot of time being angry. When you look at the lives of both sons, they both needed to be delivered from something. First of all, the younger son already had the best, but he allowed a spirit to deceive him and drive him far away from what he had (and it was not the Spirit of God). He left the best thinking he was getting something better. Then, we see when the younger son got delivered, the elder son became angry. If you can’t celebrate someone else getting free, that’s a clear indication that you aren’t free.
The prodigal son wasn’t a bad person. He was a righteous man that fell, but God raised him up. I know what Proverbs 24:16 says, but he would have never gotten up without God’s help. The sad part of this story (to me) is that only one of them repented and returned to his father. Only one of them realized that something was wrong with him and that he needed help, but the other one thought that he was fine just the way he was. When the elder son spoke, all he could talk about was what he did and maybe the younger son was the same way at one time, but now when the younger son spoke, he would only testify of what the Lord did for him.
Some of you may identify with the elder son and some of you may identify with the younger son. I can identify with both, but just remember that God has given you everything you need and He has given you the best…now be content with what you have.