Give me the portion of goods that fall to me (Luke 15:12). The prodigal son knew what belonged to his father and if his father had it, that meant he had it. His father gave him what he asked for, but his problems began when he stopped obeying what he was taught by his father. He started doing things that sons shouldn’t do. The moment he disobeyed, he became a slave – to sin, debt, poverty.
But one day, his eyes were opened. He realized that he didn’t have to live the way he was living. He remembered that his father, who he had left, had hired servants who had enough bread. The prodigal son wasn’t just in a distant country, but he was in a distant relationship with his father. The moment he returned to his father, everything he lost was restored. The servants placed on him a robe, sandals and a ring. The ring signified that when he decreed a thing, it would be established and no one could change or alter what he had spoken.
The elder son was angry because he saw his brother living the way he should have been living. Although he had read the commandments and had not sinned against them, he still didn’t understand what belonged to him. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31). Even though he took his anger out on his brother and father, he was really angry at himself because he didn’t know how to access what his father had already given him.
While the household was celebrating the return of the prodigal son, the elder son was outside when he should have been inside. He couldn’t believe his ears. Why were they celebrating? How could his brother who left his house and his country to become a citizen of another country, lose everything, return to his house and get back everything he lost? To him, that wasn’t fair, but it was fair. When the prodigal son asked for his portion, the father divided it between the elder and the younger. The elder had the same thing as his brother, but he didn’t do anything with what was given to him. (This reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30).
It took the prodigal son becoming a slave to discover that he was a son. He discovered that the things he was under were the things that he was created to rule over. He wasn’t created to toil or to beg.
The elder and the prodigal son lived in the same house. They had the same father. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to the same church with someone and hear the same sermon and the same instructions yet you’re still at the Jordan while others have already crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land? What did they do that you refused to do? Perhaps the problem has been that we like to hear a good word, but we don’t do anything with the information we hear in church because sometimes it’s not easy.
Do you think that leaving a country that was afar off to return to his home was easy for the prodigal son? It was a fight, but he walked until he walked himself out of his situation.
There is an enemy who is angry because he lost. He is angry that he got kicked out of heaven and he is doing everything he can to get you kicked out of the garden like Adam. He doesn’t want you to know who you are and what you have. He doesn’t want you to get everything that belongs to you.
Don’t do what the elder son did. He told the father what he didn’t have and what his father never gave him (Luke 15:29). Some of us do the same thing.
I don’t have the money to purchase a home.
I don’t have anyone to help me.
I don’t have a college degree.
This is why God asked Moses, What is that in your hand? Elisha asked the widow, What do you have in the house? I think sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we can’t see what we do have.
May God not only reveal what He has given to us, but I pray that we use it for Him.
Refuse to be a church that is a hearer, but not a doer of the word.
wait: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time; to stay in place with expectation
I think one of the reasons why we get ourselves in a mess from time to time is because we don’t want to wait.
In Luke 15, a certain man had two sons and the younger son had a waiting problem, too. Father, give me the share (portion) of property (estate, inheritance) that is coming to me (vs 12, ESV). According to his statement, it wasn’t his time – yet. Normally, a person has to die before his/her property is transferred to another person, but this young man couldn’t wait for his father to die. He wanted to possess what was promised to him NOW. There is a right time for everything, but when you refuse to wait, impatience leads to stupid mistakes (Proverbs 14:29, CEB).
He was where he needed to be, but not many days after receiving what rightfully belonged to him, he left for a country that was far away – from his father, from his position and from the life already chosen for him. Had he understood all that his father had, he would have never asked for a portion. His father was training him and preparing him for what was coming to him, but he left the process prematurely. He thought he knew more than his father. He thought he had it figured out. What he didn’t know was that responsibility came with the inheritance. I’m not sure of his age, but asking for something only to use it on oneself was a sign of immaturity.
Sometimes the enemy will try to convince you that you’re missing out on something or that you’re running out of time. I don’t know what he was in search of, but whatever it was, he never found it because it was in the place that he left. He wasted his substance living a life contrary to the one that he was taught. He knew right from wrong. The moment he spent it all, a mighty famine came and he began to be in want. He wasn’t prepared for a time such as this. When he lived with his father, he didn’t want for anything, but in this country, he had to toil and no one gave him anything. He was feeding another’s man pigs, but he himself was hungry – so hungry that he desired to eat what the pigs were eating. No one cared for him or took care of him like his father.
I’m not sure how long he worked in the fields, but he was literally in a mess – a pig’s mess, to be exact. He probably was afraid to go back home. What would his father say? Would his father receive him again? Maybe he was too ashamed to go back home so he tried to stick it out. He tried to fix what he messed up. He tried to make things work. But one day, he finally came to his senses. He remembered that his father was rich and had hired servants. So, if his father was rich, that meant he was rich, too.
Some of us have been in situations longer than we should have been. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you to come to yourself. The younger son made a choice – to arise and go (vs 18). Yes, he could have left at anytime, but he had to first want to leave. He had to get tired of being in that situation. He could have said, I want to go home, but I don’t have the money, which would have been a true statement, but he didn’t let anything stop him. He had been in that field long enough.
Make a choice, not excuses.
This young man didn’t wallow in guilt or self-pity. He didn’t beat himself up over his mistakes. He walked away from his past and walked into his future. You must do what he did and lay aside the weight. You’re not going to go very far in life (or in ministry) being bitter, angry, refusing to forgive, blaming other people or refusing to do what God told you to do. The ability to get up – to arise – is in you. The only person who is stopping you is you.
It was going to be a long journey back home, but that journey was life changing because it caused him to humble himself and to repent of his sin (vs 21). What was so beautiful about this parable was that in the end, he got what his father wanted him to have all along – the best!
Bring forth the best (vs 22).
To every purpose, there is time. Don’t focus on the time – When is God going to do it? Focus on the purpose – What am I doing now? I know we want things now, but if you learn to wait, you will not be disappointed because the Lord is good to those who wait for HIM (Lamentations 3:25).