14 He was broke, a terrible famine struck that land, and he felt desperately hungry and in need. 15 He got a job with one of the locals, who sent him into the fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man felt so miserably hungry that he wished he could eat the slop the pigs were eating. Nobody gave him anything. Luke 15:14-16
Ever been spent? Completely wasted? Well that’s what this kid was. Everything. Everybody. Gone. For some reason it’s much easier to spend than to save. It’s much, much easier to lose than to find. Ever lost your eyeglasses that were on your head? Or how about the car keys in your pocket?
It’s one thing to lose something but quite another to throw it away. And that’s what this kid really did. He threw it all away. There was no thought of the future. No thought of any consequence. He didn’t do any retirement or nest egg.Not just the money either.
He threw away years of relationship with his family and friends. He threw away his reputation. He threw away time and opportunity. There was never a thought in his mind of being in need because he forgot a crucial and vital principle: you can’t enjoy the blessing of relationship without being in right relationship.
The boy left home where he never had a need go unmet. Now he’s out in the middle of nowhere with nothing. How is it that nowhere and nothing seem to be neighboring states? But what happens? This kid just takes it upon himself to try to meet his own needs.
Wow, is this a revelation or what? How many times do I try to do that? My relationship with God can be so/so and then instead of returning to Him, I just try to make life better myself. Again, it’s the numbing, anesthetic of pleasure. The pleasure was worth the pain to him, at least for a little while. I know for me that I can seem to bury my pain in any pleasure, which only postpones my pain. Instead I should bear my pain to God, which would secure my ultimate pleasure.
(Re)Member of The Family.
Membership has it’s privileges. The boy didn’t have his privileges because he left the house. He didn’t want to be there and that left him wanting. He didn’t feel like He needed dad any longer and that left him needy. So what does he do? Instead of going home, he joins another country. He takes on a new membership plan. Doesn’t really research it all too well. No time for that. Rush in because he needs a rush. He takes a job feeding pigs. Pigs of all things. He’s a Jewish boy! This is unheard of. This was the ultimate culmination of his prodigal life: dining with the swine. Except, he didn’t even dine.
You see, when you get that low and desperate, you’d do anything right? Anything but admit you’re wrong. That’s why he was still in that situation. One thing leads to another and somehow, someway, you feel like you can fix it. Get the fix and then everything will be all right. But that’s not the case.
No one would give him anything. He was giving the pigs what he had. At least they (the pigs) were eating, but not him. Can you imagine? He is worse off than a pig. Famine is all about location. He didn’t have to go hungry. He just had to go home! But that was too much to consider for a time.
Can you remember (and maybe that’s the key word remember), a time when you were completely wasted? Not just on drugs or alcohol, but what about on life? Or how about emotionally or spiritually spent? Write it out.
Did your pleasure cause you pain? Does your pain cause you to seek pleasure? What pain do you have? What pleasures do you seek outside of God?
What’s at stake for you? What would you be willing to lose? What wouldn’t you be willing to lose? What’s the key to having the joy you desire?
How have you tried to have the benefits of a relationship with God without having a good relationship to God?
To what have you joined yourself to? In what way are you practicing your membership in God’s kingdom? In what way have you joined yourself to something or someone else that is not of God?
What do you feel like needs to be fixed and why? How far are you willing to go to have it fixed? Are you willing to be broken?