This post is second in my Prodigal Series. Click the link to get caught up.
Why leave home in the first place?
This parable shouts of the father's amazing character. He even treats his slaves with respect meeting their needs in a dignified manner. (Luke 15:17)
The family appears to be well off financially. The sons both have work at their father's house. The father meets both sons' complaints with gentleness, patience, forgiveness, acceptance and love. So, the big question is, "Why leave at all?"
Did the father have unreasonable rules? Did he require the sons to do too much work? Was his business stressful? Did the sons not have the freedom to pursue their own interests? Was the father too controlling?
Obviously the prodigal wanted to experience an indulgent lifestyle he wasn't going to experience at home. He wanted to live lavishly spending money he wasn't earning on things he didn't need. He wanted to answer only to himself.
Maybe the prodigal left for all these reasons. But, maybe he also left because he felt he could never meet all the expectation placed on him. Maybe the plans his father had for him seemed overwhelmingly hard and like something to which he could never live up, a potential he could never meet.
So he left. Feeling sure he could never show the promise the father felt he possessed, he quit listening. Feeling sure he would never be as serious, hardworking, responsible or successful as his older brother, he quit trying. Left to indulge his own desires. He knew how to do that. At that, he would be successful.
And he was. For awhile. And he enjoyed it. For awhile. Then the money ran out, his needs went unmet, and his father's name was left out of the picture. After all, he had already burned that bridge. He had already taken much more than he deserved. So he worked and eked by barely existing. Stooping to the lowest of levels to do the yuckiest of jobs, he worked. Until hope ignited and he remembered who his father is. A man of character, of love. Hope.
We know the end of the story. We know the prodigal returns home, remembers who his father is and all is forgiven. Relationship restored. Status restored.
I have noticed how the enemy of my heart can do this same thing to me. Taunting voices tell me who I'm not, who I'll never be and how I should just quit trying. The enemy takes a truth, twists it until it becomes a lie and speaks it to our hearts over and over again. He speaks it so much and in such a way that we actually start believing it as the truth.
There is truth in the lie, just not in all of it. Take the prodigal son, for instance. The truth is that the plans the father had for the son were lofty and probably difficult to attain. There was no way the son could attain them...On his own. He needed the father's help. He needed to trust the father and believe the father's way was right before he would ever live up to his full potential of managing his father's estate.
Just like me. I can never live out God's promises in my life...On my own. I must trust that his way is the best and wholeheartedly commit to it.
On our own, our callings in Christ will never be successfully carried into our lives.
But, the truth is this:
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
So if you're far from home or just next door, open your ears and hear his call. If you're scared of failure, embrace Him. He's all we have.
And that's the Truth.