Summary: Graduation sermon
A Prodigal or a Prodigy
Luke 15: 11-24
This passage of Scripture has been preached on numerous times. It’s been dramatized, sensationalized and often times taken to the extreme. It has become a melodrama of Scripture.
It’s been preached about how rambunctious this son was. About how rebellious he was toward his father. About how much he loved the world, and so many other things we’ve tagged to this younger son.
But that’s a lot of assumption on our part because the Bible doesn’t say any of those things about him. We assume that he was wild and uncontrollable. We assume that he was unruly and rebellious. The Scripture doesn’t declare it but we somehow read it between the lines.
So if you would permit me a little latitude, I would like to further assume a few things as we take what might perhaps be a more practical look at this story.
FOr the sake of supposition, let’s assume that this young man was 18 years old. Let’s also assume that the setting of this story is around High School graduation.
This yound man goes to his father and perhaps instead of being arrogant, he is sincere--and he says to his father, I’ve been thinking. Possibilities are out there, if I could just go to college and earn a degree, then I could start my own business and well, if you would just go ahead and give me my portion of your estate, then I could invest it in my education and future profession.
And so the father divides his estate and gives the younger son his portion and a few days later he travels to a far country.
You know, college can be a far country for a lot of young people. How many times have we heard the testimony of young men and women that left home with every intention of pursuing an education that would launch them into their dream career, then see them have to return home because they could not deal responsibly with the new freedoms they found in college.
You see, the tragedy is not in the fact that this son wanted his portion of the inheritance early nor is it in the fact that he travelled to a far country. The tragedy is that once he got what he asked for, once he received his inheritance and moved on to the far country, he became reckless with that which he possessed.
Now this graduating class has inherited some things. Tomorrow evening you will receive your High School diploma. It is the crown jewel of your inheritance of knowledge and wisdom that has been given to you throuigh the years by educators and administrators.
Many of you have been given a Godly heritage by your parents. You’ve been taught the golden rule and Biblical principles by which to live and conduct your lives. But the question I would ask each of you is this--"What will you do with what you have been given?"
You see, we’ve preached that this younger son was a prodigal because he left the father’s house and then returned. But that’s not it! He was a prodigal because he wasted his inheritance. That’s what the word prodigal means--Waster!
But from the same root form we get the word Prodigy, which means marvel, or one who evokes admiration. Can you imagine if this young man would have invested wisely and made a name for himself how different the scriptures would be?
But the contrast of what was and what could have been was the result of choice! He chose to join himself to the wrong crowd and he ended up in want.
There are unlimited possibilities that await you. Within each of you lies the potential to rise above mediocrity and the status-quo to impact your world. Many choices will have to be made on your part. Use your inheritance wisely. Be a prodigy, not a prodigal.
I leave you with the instruction of Christ as recorded in Matthew. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Your first choice should be to follow Christ, for your greatest achievement is not whether you become doctors, lawyers, nurses, businessmen, businesswomen, pro athletes or any other career choice. Your ultimate success will be to hear Jesus say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter in to the joy of the Lord."