Observations Of A Prodigal #6

Prodigal

 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. Luke 15:22-24

Father Says.

The father said to the servants. I like this because he doesn’t tell the son to go get cleaned up. Immediately, the father restores the son and treats him like a son. Isn’t that wonderful? Sometimes, we feel like we’ve got to go through some restoration process with God but that’s not the case, He always welcomes us home as sons and treats us like one immediately.

Hurry up! There’s no more time to waste. Enough time’s been wasted already! Get the clothes, ring, sandals, and food, quick!! Chop, chop! I love the thought that this father is in such a hurry to receive his son back. He wants the son to be aware of the extreme amount of love he has and the excitement that he has for his return. The father does some very important and symbolic things for his son.

“Heir-aspotle”.

First he says bring the clothes. Get those rags off my boy! He’s going to wear the finest. It’s time to go from rags to riches. He wanted to immediately restore the boy’s image. The boy had been low in self-esteem and this was a way to immediately impact him: make him look different. I don’t care what anyone says, I always feel better when I’m dressed nicer. Clothing has a lot to do with image and how we feel about ourselves. The father knew this and had the servants bring the very best. Isn’t it awesome to know we’ve been clothed in the righteousness of Christ?

Lord Of The Ring.

Secondly, the father puts a ring on his finger. This was to signify his identity with the family. It was probably like a signet ring. He was back home where he belonged. He was still part of the family; a son, nonetheless! A ring symbolizes we belong to someone and typically, such items are passed down from generation to generation. This ring was given to remind the son to whom he belonged. It was given to show such a restoration that the father wanted it passed along. The ring would be a reminder of the love and acceptance, the empowerment that comes from being a son.

All-Stars.

Thirdly, the father puts sandals on his feet. This was to represent the father’s answer to the son’s desire to be a servant and not a son. Slaves during this time did not wear shoes. The father would have none of that! This was his son and yes, sons serve but he would not be treated as a mere servant or slave. How could he be treated that way when he’s a son? The father did not want the boy to lose sight of the complete unconditional love the father had for him. The boy probably sold his shoes trying to get food. Now he would have a new pair and dine in royalty.

What Beef?

Fourthly, the fatted calf was killed. This meal would be a great celebration. Only the best food, the best meat would be served; and plenty for all. The father wanted everyone to know, to join in the celebration because something of incredible significance had happened: his child had come home! Isn’t it simply amazing to think that God would make any big deal out of you or me and yet the fact remains: He does!

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)

Are you ever in a hurry for anything? Do those things matter? Is there something that you should be in a greater hurry for than what you are?

Is there someone in your life that needs to be restored? What can you do to assist the healing process?

How does the way you dress communicate the way you feel? Have you ever tried a completely new style, trying to find a new you? Did it work? Have you ever been given something that was “just not you”? How about something that was you “perfectly”?

Do you have some old rags you can get rid of? Go through your closet and get rid of some things. Go out and get a new outfit. Splurge a little?

Have you ever been given an heirloom? What was it? What kind of value does it have to you and why?

What piece of jewelry means the most to you? Why?

Have you ever given a piece of jewelry to someone significant? What was it and why?

How important are your shoes? What do they communicate about you? How important are they in our society? What do they communicate in our world?

What’s your favorite meal? What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a meal? Was it worth it?

Why not take someone to dinner and just let them know how much they mean to you. Communicate God’s love through a meal together.

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Observations Of A Prodigal #2

Prodigal And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together…Luke 15:13

Making plans?

So how was it knowing that he would be the one leaving the household?  It would take his dad a little while to collect the money because things are usually sold after one dies, not before, to distribute the inheritance. I’m wondering what life was like for the son while he was at home waiting for all this to wrap up? He’s probably making all kinds of great plans, with grandiose dreams of how great life is gonna be once he gets out of the old man’s house. It’s gonna be great to be free, at least that what he thinks.

It’s gonna be great somewhere else!

How many times I’ve thought these same kind of thoughts? Wouldn’t it be great to be somewhere else, doing something, maybe anything else but this? What about the rules or legislation or politics that I have to endure? Is this really the life? It really is quite easy to give in to those dreams of “what if” or “what about” or “wouldn’t it be great”? I have found though, that the grass isn’t really that much greener “over there” wherever “there” is. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you don’t take some time and reflect upon what you do have. Satan is a master at diverting our attention. He’s always waving a carrot out in front of us. We must not take our eyes off the prize in Christ Jesus! When we fail to look around and be thankful, we become embittered because we feel like we’re being cheated. One way or another, we feel like we’re missing out on something. But be sure of this, Satan is NOT showing you the whole, big picture!

Normal routine?

I guess life sort of continued as “normal” for the young man. Not really a lot mentioned here, except that after a few days, the boy gathered all he had and left. What seemed like a graduation day for the son seemed like a funeral for the father. But then life went on, right? Sure the grass got cut, the cattle were fed,  and the “normal” routine continued. But life was anything but normal! Life was listless. I’m sure the father mustered up enough energy to get up in the mornings, only to spend most of his day praying, watching and waiting.

Praying. Watching. Waiting.

Is this not what God does for us? Not that He sleeps but He watches, waits and Jesus prays for us. He longs for us to be where He is. Don’t get me wrong, God is a seeker, the Ultimate Seeker, but there are times when He waits. He doesn’t move because He is waiting for us to move. We’re the ones that leave; we’re the ones that need to return. There have been countless times when God has sought me; we can all attest to that truth in our lives. Sometimes God just waits.

The problem?

What is the problem? The party is going, the lights are flashing, the music is blaring, but there’s only emptiness. There is no joy where there is no life. There can be a multitude of other things but you cannot have joy where there is death. But the party’s just begun! It’ll pass; this feeling of emptiness, it’ll pass. Fill it with any number of pleasures. The only thing is that the pleasures just numb.

Numb-er 1

Numb. That’s’ where all this leads. Numbness. Perhaps that’s where it all began? Numb to the ones that love you, numb to the God who gives you life, numb to the world around you? Why? Because you had to be number 1. You had to have it all, now! You had to push other people aside and not care about their feelings or even their life. It became all about you. It’s kind of funny that when we’re focused on the wrong number 1 it always leaves a 0 (hole). If God’s not number 1, we will be the 1 whose “numb-er”.

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)

What kind of plans have you made outside of asking God? What things have you dreamt in your heart that have grown and developed that are not blessed by the Father?

Do you feel free or bound right now? In what ways are you acting as a slave of the world instead of a Son of The King?

If you could be anywhere else, doing anything else, what and where would it be? Do you believe you are doing what God desires for you to do? Why do you want something different?

Has Satan been trying to distract you from your purpose in life? How and what does he use to do this? How can you better defend against such thoughts, schemes, and plans from him?

In what ways have you not been thankful for what you have? In what ways have you taken advantage of the from God?

How does it feel to know God’s watching, waiting and praying for you? Is there someone God wants you to do this for?

Do you feel empty inside? With what are trying to fill the void? How focused are you on you? Are you number 1 in your life?

What words come to your mind when you think of describing the younger son? How about the Father? What colors come to mind?

If you were filming this movie, where it would be taking place? Who would star in the lead roles?

Observations Of A Prodigal #1

ProdigalThe younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ Luke 15:12

Many of us would never think to just go to our dads and demand from them our share of the inheritance. I mean, inheritance is simply an after death issue. When I read the story of the prodigal, I see a couple of things that just blow me away!

First is the audacity of the youngest son. Come on, dude! How selfish can you be? How arrogant, insensitive, careless, can you be? It’s like he’s basically saying to his dad: “You’re as good as dead to me already.” Wow, can you believe that? He’s all about himself. It’s not that his home life is bad, it’s just that he thinks there more to life than what he has. He somewhat feels like he’s missing out on something. And he doesn’t have time to wait for the old man to kick the bucket to get his share of the stash.

If this was my kid, I’d have to fight a response out of anger and certainly I’d be heartbroken. I doubt seriously that I would make arrangements for him to take anything. What had this father done to deserve this kind of treatment? What was that was so bad about the father’s house? Nothing. The issue is not the father’s house, supply, care or anything like that. The issue was son’s heart. The son simply did not love the father the way he should. He had no respect, no care, no love. If it’s one thing I’m learning it’s that you can never make someone love you. It will never work. Love is a choice. We choose and are chosen in love.

This brings me to the second thing that just blows me away. It’s the father’s response. The father goes out and begins to sell off his stuff to meet the sons’ request. And not only the youngest son’s share but the oldest too! The father gives both boys their inheritance now. It’s like the father died. He sacrificed not because he was obliged to but because he loved his kids. The father could have had the boy taken out and stoned for being a rebellious child. That was the law of their culture. But Jesus pulls a fast one here. He shows a Father who doesn’t demand we love Him but is willing to give us the option to love Him back. The father puts no stipulations on the money, no terms for the boy, just gives it to him and allows him to choose his own way. This is a love that simply astounds! One that would never let me go but allow me to leave if I so chose.

I find that it’s quite easy to live the prodigal life. It’s easy for me to demand of others, to try and make them love me. It’s easy to demand of God and for me to not love Him back. It’s easy to forget what the Father has provided for me. It’s easy to think life would somehow be better somewhere else. However, it’s just not true. The prodigal life is not one demanding so much of an inheritance for me as much as it is not desiring to remain with the father. There are far too many times when I just feel like rushing out into the world and doing my own thing. Far too many times I feel that I’m somehow missing out on something. But time after time, I hear God simply say; “it’s your choice. I love you but I can’t and won’t make you stay. I just want you to choose to love me back. I’m your Father and this is where I will be.” And thankfully, His kindness is enough to lead me to repentance!
EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)
If you were making this a movie, what city would this be filmed in and why?

What is it about the grass on the other side that makes it look so much greener for you?

What lies have you bought that make you believe life would be better elsewhere, doing otherwise?

What Truth do you know to fight and dissolve those lies?

How would you respond if your child demanded their inheritance now? Would you give it to them…or really give it to them?

What characteristics or character qualities do you see displayed in just the first couple verses alone?

How would you say you’ve been like the younger son?

What does the father’s response reveal to us about how God treats us and how He wants us to treat others, especially in a family situation?

What character flaw do you think the younger son had that led him to the prodigal life?

What character flaw do you have that could lead you down the same path?

The father’s response was nothing short of gracious and certainly full of grace. How can you better respond to those around you who are demanding and selfish? To those in your family? To those in your church family?