Thursday, July 7, 2011

The prodigal son

As summer is here, what should we do as men? Last year we went through selected sections of the book "Love Dare". This year we will start to look at a parable of our Lord Jesus. I think that this parable is fitting for us as men for the main characters mentioned are male. All of us should be able to relate to these characters or at least understand somewhat, what each character is like. This is a story of a father and his 2 sons. Have you guessed yet? It is found in Luke 15:11-32 and we know this as the parable of the prodigal son.
We will start our study with the definition of prodigal, 1. one who spends and gives lavishly and foolishly. 2. one who returns after an absence. (Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary). With this definition our main character fits into both. For us today, returning after an absence, doesn't always mean a bad thing. One might return after an illness or a call to active there could be a positive prodigal. Now when we think of prodigal, or the prodigal son, we usually think about the first definition or even we might think of one who is rebellious.
Our story starts out in Luke 15: 11-12 "And He said, "A man had two sons. "The younger of them said to his father 'father give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' " What is being said is that the younger son wants his inheritance now. What a unique demand! What word could one use to describe this action...bold, arrogant, unhappy, rebellious...How about these two words, greed and demanding. Think about it for a minute, greed we can see easily, but demanding? It is there too, 'give me'.
So again I will go over the single page in this devotion! Greed, to desire more...for example money, power, fame. Now this I believe is one of the problems that this young man has. So with this greed we will talk about the love of money. In 1 Tim 6:10 "For the love of money is the root all kinds of evils." The son in our story, well what do you think? Did he love money? It sure does seem it. We're not going to go to deep here; we will talk about that in another devotional. But to desire money, to wish you had more money...if only I had more money so many of my problems would be fixed...Have you ever had those thoughts or similar ones? Sometimes we can get to a point when we think that money will solve our problems in life. It can even get to be, so strong of a feeling that it can draw us away from the one who can solve our problems, our Lord Jesus. Yes, if we continue to read in 1 Tim 6:11" It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith..." Money, things, wealth...the desire of...the love of; how dangerous a desire. Let's face it we all need to be on guard here.
The next characteristic of this young son is that he is demanding. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. Let's face it for the most part we can be very demanding as people or a person. In all types of situations and with material things. With that comes the attitude that we deserve or have a right to whatever it is. This young man wants his inheritance now, can you just picture him telling his father how much...and what he believes is his? So many times I have seen and heard of family members fighting over an inheritance, even when things are in order. Jesus says this in Luke 12:15 "Beware, and be on your guard against ever form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
The nation of Israel wants(demands) a king in 1 Sam. 8. You see they rejected God as their King and wanted to be like the other nations. Oh, you might say Samuel's son had a part but God says they rejected Him. So God let them have a king to rule over them. If you read your bible you will be amazed at how many bad kings there were. You see we can be demanding or thinking we deserve...but at some point we can cross that line of "beware of every form of greed." It is every form of greed, not just of money. That desire to have more or even to be more...(I'm not talking about the wanting to be Christ like here). So are you demanding, thinking you deserve, or you are better you try to elevate one status...greed comes in all types of ways. How about money? It is so easy to get caught up with money. It can consume you, even when you don't have any or very little. Let's end with a few words for us to be able to understand this better; money, power, fame, prestige, status...