Tuesday, October 27, 2020

We are all Prodigal's, one and all

“Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed 
your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me 
a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.”

Luke 15:29

God is concerned with bringing people from death to life. His heart rejoices over each person who returns to Him from a time of rebellion. If your heart is like God's, you, too, will rejoice when a sinner returns to the Father.

Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son is as much about the older son who remained as it is about the wayward son or the father. Year after year the older son labored for his father, waiting for a future reward. He had seen the brokenness his brother's rebellion had caused his father. Yet when his brother returned, the older son did not rejoice with his father. He felt no pleasure in seeing his father happy. His concern was for himself and the injustice he perceived he’d been dealt. He felt like a martyr and totally missed the blessing of celebrating with his father.
It is possible to serve God year after year and yet have a heart that is far from Him. You might be one of the hardest workers in your church and yet be filled with bitterness because others do not share your load. You can become so preoccupied with your spiritual labors that when God works miracles in the lives of those around you, you cannot rejoice.
If you serve the Lord out of duty or habit, but not out of joy and gratitude, you will feel like a martyr. You will envy those who are experiencing joy in the Lord while you feel weighed down by the work you are doing. This is not the abundant life your Father has planned for you. Come to the celebration, spend time with the Father, and share in His joy! - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We all are Prodigal's my dear Reader.  
None of us escapes that part of life.  At some point in some ways we all have done our own thing apart from God.  Scripture says that each of us has done what is right in our own eyes.  

There are 3 people mentioned directly in this story of the Prodigal Son, yet by extension, many more were impacted by the activity and actions of the son who went away. 

We read of the activities of the Father. Daily watching the horizon for his son to return.  This wasn't vain hope, this was because of prayer and expectation.
We read of the activities of the other son. Of how he lived not out of true obedience, but rather out of going through the motions, hoping to get something out of it.
We obviously read of the son and the lessons he learned and his broken spirit that returned him home. 

What we don't read about is the Mother, any other children, of people who knew that family.  We don't read of the reactions of the people who were with that wayward son on his way home.  God used people to get through to the son. His mother probably too was worried and in much prayer about her son. 

We all have been in these situations and have put family into the position of praying for us because of our waywardness.

It's often easy to get woefully judgmental and look down upon family for the mistakes they made.  

It's convicting when we do finally see that the Father hadn't given up on them.

It begs the question: When did we get the ridiculous notion that God had forsaken them?  When?  When had God stopped being God in the lives of those we cared about?

Yes, they made mistakes, yes it hurts. But don't you think that the mistakes we have made caused any less pain to Jesus for our making them?

Jesus is that Good Samaritan who was the one who stopped to care for the one that a Levite and a priest left behind.  They judged the wounded man as forsaken.  Jesus cannot forsake those who are His.
We do.

We can easily be the Father or the other son when it comes to dealing with wayward family or friends who have strayed from God's will in their lives.  We either look upon people with love and compassion or we look at them with contempt.  We sit in judgment and really refuse to forgive as Christ obviously did already. 

Forgiveness is paramount in restoration of one who has returned by God's mercy. 

Yet another lesson is this...we do indeed make mistakes in life that can be seen as destroying our lives.  But we don't see the big picture that God does.  

Joseph thought it one thing by talking about his dreams.  His family took it completely different. Joseph went through what can be construed as one bad decision after another.  Yet it wasn't the case.  It was God.  

Before you bemoan what has happened to family or friends, be immersed in prayer to seek what it is that God is doing and what your part in it really is.  Yes, what we thought should have happened in their lives didn't happen.  But that isn't the bigger picture. The bigger picture is their walk with Jesus.  It took a lot of mistakes in my life to get me to where I am with Jesus today.  Many times being a Prodigal Son.  

Prayer must be coupled with expectation or faith isn't being active. 

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