it for a moment:

A son asks his father for his share of his father’s estate, basically saying, “I’m more interested in what you’re going to give me after you die, than what you can give me while I’m living.”

The father agrees and gives his son his share of his estate. The son takes the money, moves to a foreign land (a self-imposed exile), and lives it up. He spends the money on booze, women, and parties. He goes broke and finds himself living in the gutter. He is in the wilderness. He has replaced the tools of construction with the tools of destruction, and he has cast himself into exile.

Let’s be honest…we’ve each done the same thing. There has been a time in each of our lives where we’ve disconnected ourselves, lived in the wilderness, cast down the tools of construction, and felt the loneliness of exile. If you say you haven’t, I’d say you’re lying!

The son comes to his senses, realizing that his father’s servants are in better shape than he is, and he begins to build a highway that will lead him out of the desert. He picks up his tools and starts construction.

Don’t let your tools lie dormant. Don’t let your tools gather rust. Don’t let your tools of desert highway construction slip from your grasp. You know where the road needs to be built. You know the tools that must be picked up and used in order to build the highway. Don’t withdraw and become reclusive. Staying connected to your family, staying connected to your church family, staying connected to those around you contributes greatly toward your peace. Get to work on your highway that will lead you from exile.

There’s a song that says, “Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.” When we consider the vastness of God’s creation, it’s easy to take on the attitude of, “What difference can I make?” Perhaps you’ve heard of the father and son who were walking along a beach where thousands of star fish had been washed up on shore. One by one, the son begins picking them up and throwing them back. The father says, “Son, don’t waste your time. It’s not going to make that big a difference?” His son looks at the star fish in his hand, tosses it into the ocean and says, “It makes a difference to that one.”

“Let it begin with me.” During Thanksgiving, I watched a Muppet Christmas special with my children. The Muppets were preparing for their Holiday show when they learned their landlord was going to evict them for nonpayment and they would lose the Muppet Theater. They devised a plan to earn enough money to payoff their landlord in time to save the Theater. Their show was a success, and they raised enough money, but on his way to the bank, Fozzy Bear got sidetracked and lost the bag of money. The Muppet Theater will soon be lost, Kermit is heart-broken, full of despair and angrily cries out, “I wish I’d never been born.”

An angel appears and grants his wish. He then reverses time and begins to show Kermit each of the Muppets’ lives without him…Fozzy Bear’s a