The story of the prodigal son is familiar (Luke 15:11-32). There was a man with two sons. They lived with their father, working on the family farm. One day the younger son approached the father and asked for his portion of the inheritance. We know an inheritance as something that is transferred upon the death of the benefactor. In so many words, the son was saying, “I wish you were dead.” The father agreed and divided the portion to his son. The son gathered his belongings and left, never looking over his shoulder. He went to a distant land and wasted all of the money on wild living. I think its interesting that the father let him go. He could have rightfully said no. Or he could have said, you can go if you will but I will not under write your venture. But he didn’t. He divided the estate and allowed him to leave.
We talk a lot about the prodigal’s behavior, but we cannot ignore what was in his heart. I believe his heart arrived in the distant land long before his body did. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evils things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45, NLT). Be careful what you allow to dwell in your heart, because sooner or later you will act on it.
While in the distant land, the son ran into two simultaneous tragedies. He ran out of money and ran into a famine. When the money was gone, he began to starve. He found a job working for a farmer who sent this young Jewish man into the field to feed the pigs. And no one gave him anything. The thing about sin is that it will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.
At his lowest point the prodigal “came to his senses.” Look at what he did: “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ So he returned home to his father” (Luke 15:17-20, NLT).
Here are three things he did that we can do when we come to the end of ourselves.
1. He accepted responsibility for his life. He owned his stuff. He didn’t make excuses nor blame others for his choices.
2. He acted with humility. He was willing to return at a lesser role. He didn’t make demands, set conditions or have expectations.
3. He took the first step. He returned home to his father, with no assurance that his father would receive him.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this series with the surprising plot twist that would have shocked the audience. In the meantime, remember that you’re never too far to come home and its never too late to come to your senses.