PORTRAIT OF A PRODIGAL
Jesus could paint pictures with words. In Luke chapter fifteen is a verbal picture of a prodigal son. There are three key ideas to be observed. The first is in Luke 15:11-12.
Jesus said, "A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, Father give me the portion of that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living." Why do people become prodigals? They have a "give me" attitude.
This spirit is so dominant today. "Give me pleasure. I want my pleasure and I'm going after it. If I have to compromise myself, misrepresent my product, so what?"
"Give me my power. I am determined to be chief and others can polish my moccasins!"
"Give me freedom. I have no responsibilities. I want rights without responsibilities and I'm going to have them."
This "give me" attitude taken many away from a Christian upbringing. It has taken husbands away from their families. It has taken wives away from their home. This "give me" disposition has caused some older people to turn away from the church. The "give me" spirit has caused elected officials to betray trust placed in them. It has caused elders, deacons, preachers, song leaders, and Bible class teachers to repudiate the confidence placed in them.
With this attitude came consequences. Once the individual really embraces this "give me" spirit there must be more money, more pleasure, more prestige, or more whatever. Man's relationship with things is a brief and limited relationship. He can take none of his important things with him.
The prodigal son started wasting "his substance with riotous living." (Luke 15:13) He took a degrading position, feeding hogs.
In his quest for pleasure he found misery. In his desire for freedom he found slavery.
This "give me" spirit is, according to McGinnis, the effort of unhappy people to find some joy for themselves.
Fortunately for the prodigal he came to himself. (Luke 15:17) The person who will leave the freedom in Christ, purity of life, fellowship of saints, the eternal security in Christ, for the momentary pleasure of sin, the temporary excitement of sin, is in a state of moral insanity. They need to come to themselves.
The young man remembered the love, acceptance, and provisions in the home he had deliberately forsaken. He said, "I will arise and go to my father" He arose and came to his father. (Luke 15:17-18)
He left because of a "give me" spirit. He returns with a "make me" plea. He had done a 180 degree turn in life! He heart had changed. He was now prepared to serve. He pleads, "Make me as one of the hired servants." (Luke 15:19)
Until a person comes to this point in life, God cannot really help the individual. For one simple reason: they don't want God's help because the "give me" spirit blinds one to real needs.
Anyone with a servant disposition is prepared for greatness in the kingdom of heaven. The apostles wanted to exercise authority. They wanted positions of power. They had to come to the "make me" spirit of a servant if they really wanted to find self worth, peace and fulfillment in life.
Jesus said that the Son of man "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28)
When one has the "make me" spirit God can mold and shape that person's character according to His will. The person with a "make me" spirit can be built into a godly person by faithful attendance.
God makes ministers out of preachers. God makes elders whose greatness is in serving as a shepherd who knows and loves the sheep. God makes the efforts to restore the erring an exciting challenge. Converting the erring is serving the spiritual needs of people.
Can you imagine how excited and happy a father who really loves his wayward son would be when the boy came home? Does it surprise you that the father would run and embrace him, and kiss him? Does it surprise you that the father would want to feed him with a feast, honor him with a robe and a ring, and celebrate with rejoicing?
You may not know how much God loves you and what it would mean to a loving Father in heaven to see His wayward son or daughter on earth coming home.
I've wandered far away from God.
Now I'm coming home.
The paths of sin too long I've trod,
Lord, I'm coming home!"
"And he arose, and came to his father." (Luke 15:20)
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