Jesus taught the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. This young man really showed us the classic mentality guiding decision-making that is still prevalent in all our lives today: “I don’t need authority or rules because it’s all about what I need and want … now!” ‘Fess up! We’ve all been there, even in our adult life.
Deciding to set out on his own, he arrogantly, disrespectfully, and selfishly asked his father for his inheritance. Off he went. He proceeded to make more bad choices, squandering his money on wild living. Eventually, the money was gone and he hit rock bottom, feeding another man’s livestock. Even worse, he was so hungry, even the food he was feeding the pigs looked good. He thought of home … even his father’s servants were eating better than he was.
“I think I’ll return home and become one of my father’s servants”, he thought. “I don’t deserve more than that, but I believe he’ll hire me.” Several good decisions happened here: to admit his error, to stop blaming others, and most importantly, to face up to and take responsibility for his actions.
When he approached his home, the young man’s father was actually out waiting for him. When he saw his lost son coming home, he ran out to meet him with open arms, killed the fattest calf, and celebrated his son’s homecoming with a huge party. This powerful message reveals God’s incredible yearning to be with us and to shower us with amazing love and limitless forgiveness.
Don’t we often ask God for our inheritance, meaning our salvation and other spiritual assets, and then say, “Thanks, but I don’t need you anymore? I’m off to satisfy my needs, my way, on my timeline, with no regard for my future growth?” Like the prodigal’s father, God gives us free will. He hopes we choose to follow His instruction, but He is always waiting with forgiveness and open arms when we come to our senses.
Have you made some bad decisions, wandered off and squandered your inheritance, gifts, talents, blessings, and opportunities to do good … felt that your way was better than God’s? We all have, but don’t continue to wallow in the pig slop of your wrong decisions. Return to Him. Enjoy the contentment and celebration of letting Him be your Teacher, Counselor, Coach, Lord, and most importantly, your Father who sacrificed His own Son to adopt you.
Today, many opportunities exist to run with your inheritance and do life on your own. When you get that urge, STOP! Examine the costs. Sleep on it and run it by another person the next day. Pray, asking God for wisdom. Make the right choice to follow the stepping-stones to your Heavenly Father and submit to His authority and guidance. Make good decisions, because you either live with their consequences, or get to reap the rewards of poor ones. Life is your choice, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I’ve made so many mistakes. I know many of the things I’ve done have not pleased You, but I thank You for this assurance of Your love and forgiveness. Please forgive me and take me into Your loving arms. I need You Father…I need more of You. Sometimes the grass looks greener, but I know shortcuts are never worth it. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the one who opened His arms on the cross for me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.