I recently heard the story from Luke chapter 15 told by Ron Stegall, one of the pastors at Milestone Church. It’s one I’ve heard so many times before. I can tell it to you by heart because I’ve heard it so often. However, I’ve not really stopped to think about anything other than the fact the son left and was accepted back by his father. To me, that was the story. There is so much more to the story, but I’m going to have to put it into 3 separate parts, so be continued tomorrow for part 2. Today’s post is about the youngest son because that’s the story we think of most when we hear this parable.
If you don’t know the story, I’ll paraphrase it, but I highly encourage you to read it. It can be found in Luke 15:11- 32. There was a man who had two sons. The younger one decided he wanted all of his inheritance early so he could leave and do what he wanted with it. He no longer wanted to live by his father’s rules. Does that sound familiar? The father went ahead and gave him his money, and the son went wild with it. You name it, he probably did it. The bible says he “wasted all his money in wild living” (NLT). His money ran out, and he had nothing. He asked a farmer to hire him to work with the pigs, and he even looked at the food the pigs were eating and wanted to eat it! He was starving, and no one gave him anything. He lived like this until he realized that the servants his dad hired always had plenty of food, so he decided to go back and ask for a job from him. On his way, he practiced what he was going to say to his dad, but he didn’t even get a chance to say it. His father saw him coming from far away and ran to meet his son! He was so excited to see him. He didn’t care what the son had done. He was just happy that he was okay and back home. Rather than hire him as a servant, his father hosted a celebration with the best of the best foods and clothed him in his finest clothes.
Let’s take a look at this story more in depth. First, according to dictionary.com, an inheritance is something that is or may be inherited; property passing at the owner’s death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy. The son was not supposed to get this money until the father passed away. By asking for his inheritance early, he was first showing that he felt entitled to it. It was something he deserved, and he shouldn’t have to wait until his father died to get it. He was also saying to him I don’t want what you have. I want to see what else is out there, and I want you to pay for it. I want everything, and I want it now.
Once the son got his half, he left. In our time, it would probably be the equivalent of going to Vegas and spending money on anything that one could spend money on. He wasted all of his money, and he probably felt completely empty inside because he still didn’t have what he already had at home. He turned his back on his family, and he basically told his father that he wished he were dead. He had no one to turn to. It says that “he persuaded a local farmer to hire him” (NLT). I think that it’s saying he didn’t get the job easily. He had to talk the farmer into hiring him. Even then, the farmer only gave him the job of feeding and taking care of the pigs. Pigs were considered to be unclean animals. Think about a pig – where it lives and how it lives. This was probably one of the lowest, if not the lowest position one could have. He was so desperate that he looked wantingly at the pigs’ food. Did he dare eat any of it? We don’t know, but we do know that the food looked appealing to him.
I think he felt stupid, for lack of a better word, when he realized what he was doing and what he had done with his life. He realized that his father’s servants were taken care of better than he was at that time and decided to go back, not as a son, but as a servant for his family. No way did he think he would be forgiven. He wasn’t even sure his father would allow him to be a hired servant. He was so nervous that he practiced what he was going to say the whole way home. Doesn’t that sound familiar? I know that I practice apologies so often because I want to say the words just right. I imagine that he was doing the same thing.
What do you think he was thinking, and what do you think he felt when his father RAN to him and embraced him with such joy? Wow, what a feeling that must have been!
How can this relate to you in any way? Oh, sweet friend, I know it might seem like it’s just a story and that it doesn’t affect you in any way, but it does. Is there an area in your life where you have completely messed up? I mean, have you messed up so badly that you honestly feel like you’re doomed? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girls who want so desperately to make a change but feel like God will never accept them because of their mistakes. That is simply not true. God loves you so much. Do you know that he died for you at your very worst moment? That moment where you hit rock bottom; that’s when he died for you. ~~stop and think about that. What do you consider your lowest point? Picture yourself right at that moment – what you were doing, who you were with, what you might have looked like to someone who just walked in. That’s what Jesus saw when he died for you. And you know what is even more amazing? He STILL chose to die for you!! You don’t have to be someone else around him because he’s just so incredibly thrilled that you’ve come back to him. He doesn’t even wait on you to get completely there. He runs to you with open arms holding you tightly and loving on you. You are is daughter ~ his princess. Please don’t ever feel like it’s too late to come back home.