“Probably the most famous parable, or story of Jesus comes in Luke’s Gospel and begins like this:
A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, “Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. Luke 15.11-12
More shocking than the son’s demand is the father’s response. He gives him what he wants. Jesus goes on with the story:
The younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. Luke 15.13
So he takes his father’s money and takes off. A “distant country” suggests a place very far removed from the father’s life style and values. A “life of dissipation” is a polite way of referring to sex, drugs and rock & roll. Jesus continues,
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Luke 15.14-16
So this kid spends everything, nothing left. And then there’s a downturn in the economy and he can’t even get a decent job. He has no money, no reserves. He takes the only available option. “Tend the swine” is as good as saying, he was as low as he could go. His job wasn’t even feeding him.
Now in most parables, someone usually represents God and someone usually represents us. And most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, on some level can associate with the son. We wander away from our heavenly Father all the time. We strike out on our own, we buy the lie that we can do it on our own, without our father. And that lie is likely going to lead us to bad choices that push us to the limit of where we ought to be living.
- You are overwhelmed by life financially.
- Maybe you feel like that in your schedule, you have allowed the demands of others to dictate your schedule.
- Maybe you are at your emotional limit. The slightest thing just sets you off.
- Maybe you’re lost in your own version of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
The story takes a dramatic turn when we learn:
Coming to his senses, he said: “How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.” Luke 15.17
He comes to his senses. He finally realizes, this is ridiculous, I do not have to live like this. He turns instead, back to his father.
Whatever is going on, whatever is going wrong in your life and in mine, it doesn’t have to be like this. We can come to our senses and come back to our father.”