Summary: There is no such thing in this physical life as "passing the point of no return" with our loving Father. He awaits our return to Him.
I believe all of us know one of the main reasons that retailers such as “Home Depot” and “Lowe’s” have managed to be so successful. Three words: Do. It. Yourself!
Not only will these home-improvement giants sell you what you need to fix up and spruce up your home or business, but they will even provide classes on how to accomplish the project you have in mind.
Is it safe to ask if we’ve become a culture of “do it yourself?” In fact, my 5-year-old daughter, Jennalyn, when she does something that requires supervision, will almost always exclaim, “I can do it myself! I’m independent!”
Other than the “Good Samaritan”, I think The story of “The Prodigal Son” has got to be one of the most popular stories to be told from the New testament.
I think what makes it such a well beloved story is the fact that it hits close to home. We can relate to it. We can put ourselves into the story at some point. It is a story of “been there, done that” in our own relationship with God the Father. We’ve all been in a position for grace, mercy, forgiveness and restoration from our Heavenly Father.
The basis of the story is well known. We have a teen-age son and youngest of the family, making what appears to be hasty, life-altering decisions. Plus, he does so in a very unorthodox, crass and offensive way.
I am sure the Father was not overly surprised by the request as the boy’s behavior, for some time, gave clues to the pending need for the son to “leave the nest” and “fly free” in independence into a world of “do it yourself!”
Although probably not unexpected, I’m sure the pain was still excruciating and hurtful for the father to hear those very words of verse 12, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.”
I wonder if the father gave a deep sigh and groaned deeply within his soul. He knew, didn’t he? He knew where this would be going…nowhere. He probably sensed the “wild” nature of his son who was bent towards the sin of the world and eagerly falling for all its enticements.
The father, in his deep love for his son, goes against the norm of Jewish tradition and divides his estate between his two sons. The boy now has in his possession what he always felt he deserved and was rightfully his.
Although he was not ready to handle life on his own, the Father allows his son the free will to do as he so chooses. as expected, the outcome is ultimate failure and a total annihilation of his life and all of his resources.
Sadly, the loss is all self-inflicted. Verse 13 bears the news that he “wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” The verb “wasted” means “to scatter or disperse.” The word “Prodigal” means to “spend money or resources freely and recklessly, wastefully and extravagantly.”
He kept no records, saved no receipts, nor did he make any investments or saving plans. He spared himself nothing, refrained from nothing only to end up with nothing at all. Everything wasted. All of it gone. It is a sad state of affairs to be so far from home, alone, broke, with nothing but the clothes on your back…but hopefully, maybe, just a shred of dignity left to spare.
It is as the famed Rev. Matthew Henry wrote: “willful waste brings wilful want.” It is not until you pick up the last crumb to eat that you realize how hungry you are with no remaining means to obtain food for nourishment.
The boy hires himself out to a local farmer to feed, of all things, swine! What an insulting job! A Jewish person considered swine to be “unclean” according to the Law of Moses. He degraded himself to level of swine and he became desperate enough to consider joining them in their feast of corn husks and slop.
But, isn’t that the lure of sin? sin entices us to fulfill our greatest fantasies, only to leave us wallowing in the slop of our transgressions and stuck in the mire of our rebellious mistakes?
Sin will cheer you on with the sound of accolades that “you can do it yourself!” Then once the practical joke is exposed, sin shamelessly mocks you as sobriety “kicks in” with the sudden realization that you are bankrupt, empty and in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and guilt.
The prodigal son hits rock bottom in trying to do everything on his own. He has nowhere to go and no direction to turn. In fact, others won’t even come to his rescue as they chide him for “getting what he deserves.” Who is left? Where else can I go, he asks.