Luke 15:11-16


“Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.’” Luke 15:11-16

A man with two sons and these two boys couldn't have been more different. One was restless and adventurous. He wanted nothing to do with hearth and home. He wanted out. The other boy was steady and sure, working diligently, staying close to dad. But both had their challenges.

The younger son came to the father. “Father, give me my share of the estate.” This was a demand, not even a request. This son may have looked at his father as the “old man” and was waiting for him to die so he could have his inheritance. But the old man didn’t die fast enough. This young man wanted his share and he wanted it now. He did not want to wait one more second.

Does that sound a little like us? We want what we want, when we want it, and often when we want it, is now. Debt mounts as people look at the next best and biggest. Then using a plastic card, we give away years of our lives to the mountain of indebtedness. Debt enslaves people.

This son received his share. The father’s heart must have broken as he gave to his son, realizing the young man wanted the stuff, not him. Were the son’s bags packed sitting at the door while the father handed him the money bag?

The word prodigal means abundance, extravagance, spending lavishly. This was the younger son. He had a great deal but he spent a great deal.

“He squandered his wealth in wild living.” He may have looked at the money he had and relished the thought that it was a huge amount, more money than he had ever seen before. His father had been rich, now he was. But looking at resources as never ending is a frightening mind set. Spending all we have, never saving or preparing for the future, is not being wise. God tells us to be wise stewards.

“Save for a rainy day” is a saying most of us have heard, but perhaps we should say, “Save for a famine day.” This son spent all he had and then a severe famine came.

The young son trusted in his wealth. but suddenly it was all gone, and the famine was severe. What to do? He would need a job but jobs were scarce. He hired himself out to a citizen of the country. His job was to feed the pigs.

Let’s stop here for a moment and reflect. As Jesus told this story, His listening crowd may have gasped. Pigs were despicable animals. They were filthy, dirty, completely unclean. Being a pig caretaker would have been one of the lowliest jobs a Jewish person could have considered. This spoke volumes as to the desperation of the younger son to provide for himself.

But then it got even worse. Jesus told the crowd that this young man looked at the pigs’ food and longed to eat it. He was starving and pigs eat garbage.

Have we ever come to the place where pigs’ food looks good?

Is there some garbage that the world offers that somehow looks good to us?

Have we left the Father who provided for us?

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