I Want It Now!
Verse 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’
The prodigal family saga continues with the younger brother’s portion of the story. This portion of the story is one of the most well-known parts and so it may seem that we should skip over it because there can’t be anything new to learn. I think we will find that it has more than initially meets the eyes.
This brother is obviously the bad guy of the story, one that easily gets labeled as foolish. He is disrespectful to his father, selfish and driven by the desires of the world. After packing up all his things he moved to a distant land. Did you catch that? He packed ALL of his items and moved to a DISTANT land. It is easy to think of the story from the other end of the story, thinking of him coming home after a short time away and picking up right where he left off with all of his belongings still there but that isn’t how Jesus told the story. Jesus said that this son packed all he owned and moved far away. This wasn’t a short vacation, this was a life change.
The younger son wasn’t seeing the long-term picture of his life. He had lots of money and didn’t love his family, so was going where he thought life would be like living a dream. He was going to live lavishly and he couldn’t wait! As soon as he hits the new town he starts drawing people to himself, or so he thought. But as soon as the money ran out he found out that those he thought were his friends were actually those that were wanting to be friends with his money. He blew all his wealth and if that wasn’t bad enough as soon as he ran out of money a famine hit the land.
Some would call this bad luck but the truth is that this is a case of bad choice after bad choice. He first decides to tell his dad he wishes he were dead, then packs all his belongings and heads to a faraway country to live a wild life. He wasted his money on things of pleasure and doesn’t seem to have taken a job to keep money coming in. And just like that everything is gone – the money, the friends and the fun. He was so busy living the high life that he didn’t stop to think about what may happen.
We often live like that too when it comes to our spiritual lives. We see the way others are living and the fun they seem to be having and we want it too. We take the first steps of telling God that we don’t care about Him by choosing to use what He has entrusted to us for selfish gain. We leave the safety net of our church family and strike out on our own. We live to please ourselves and totally miss that we are not free from responsibility and consequences. We may think it is all fun and games but a time of reckoning will come.
Making It Personal
Have you ever thought you would be better off living a way that made you happy? Have you ever given up what you knew was right to fit in with a crowd that made you think your life was boring? Have you ever, by your actions, told God you didn’t want Him around?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever wished that you could do things that your friends’ parents let them do? Have you asked your mom and dad why they don’t want you doing it? Are there things that God doesn’t want you doing?
Father, thank You for allowing us choice in life. Forgive us the times we choose unwisely. Please help us learn to love You enough to want Your ways over our own. In Jesus’ name, amen.