How I See The Prodigal Son
I got a new perspective of the story of the prodigal son this morning. A lot of times, the things we read in the bible seem distant from us and we don’t always know how they apply to our present day lives. Well, here’s a present day understanding of this parable found in Luke 15:11-32.
As Christians, we have a certain hope that is meant to keep us motivated to run the race set before us and that hope is Heaven and all that comes with transiting from time as we know it into eternity – the hope of resurrection from the dead , being completely transformed into Christ’s likeness, relating with God face-to-face, rewards, crowns, final freedom from the stresses and pains of life on Earth, etc.
I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15, NKJV)
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3, NIV)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25, NIV)
There are different types of crowns, including:
a crown of righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:7-8;
a crown of life – James 1:12;
a crown of glory – 1 Peter 5:4
Sadly, so many of us despise that hope and have chosen to focus on the here and now – getting all our rewards and treasures on this Earth. So we continually harass our Father to give us our inheritance NOW with no thought of the future, much the same way so many people would rather spend whatever money that comes into their pockets immediately rather than investing in/for the future. We acknowledge mentally that there is a future and a need to invest in it, but by our words and actions, we show we are more interested in what we can get here and now only. Remember that the prodigal son was in no way suffering lack, being the son of a rich man. He was just greedy for more and short-sighted.
So, we invest all the resources God has given us – time, talent and treasure (money) – into acquiring as much as we can of the earth’s treasures and because we have a finite amount of these resources, we neglect our Father’s business to mind ours; we short-change our future for our present; because the world’s goods become our treasures, our hearts are firmly focused on this world and succeeding by this world’s standards. We too easily forget Jesus’ admonition:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)
The prodigal son was fortunate in that he was a poor manager of resources and squandered all he had taken from his father. Hitting rock bottom brought him to his senses so that he was able to see that he would be much better off back in his father’s house, even if it meant being a servant rather than a son. The psalmist certainly had the same conviction and with regard to living by the standards of the world in order to gain the treasures of the world, this should also be our conviction:
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. (Psalm 84:10, NLT)
Woe to the one who has taken his eyes off his Father and his Father’s business to invest only in his own business and who succeeds in his own business. Why? Because unlike the prodigal son who failed and came back to his senses, the one who makes a success of his own prodigal journey might not get the opportunity to see how far he has departed and to retrace his steps. It seems that we should appreciate the times when we’re running off on a tangent and the Lord graciously and kindly blocks the road, giving us an opportunity to evaluate our position and hopefully retrace our steps back to the track He laid out for us to run on.
The best thing about this story of the prodigal son is how his father was eagerly anticipating his return, full of love and forgiveness, so much so that he did the ‘unmanly’, emotional thing and ran to meet his prodigal but repentant son. This story was told by Jesus, so I imagine He was painting a picture that showed God’s heart of love towards his erring child – eagerly anticipation a day of repentance and running to meet us as we retrace our steps. Amazing love!!! So if you realize that at some point, you abandoned your Father’s business and focused on yours…abandoned your Father to pursue your own dreams your own way, He’s waiting for you to repent and return back to His arms.
Please, let us be careful to not allow the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things enter in and make us unfruitful branches of the Vine (Mark 4:18-19; John 15:5).
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelation 3:11, NIV)