Summary: We all know the story about the party that was thrown for the Prodigal, but what happened the next morning?
You have all felt the feeling or have heard of someone who has. The dreaded morning after the night before. You hadn’t intended on staying at the party that long, you knew that you had to get up the next morning and yet there it was. As some people say, “it is what it is.”
The year I graduated from High School I was still a year from becoming a Christ follower and I spent part of that year with my Dad on a commercial fishing boat. I was the youngest member of the crew and I wanted to run with the big boys. And there were nights when we were in port that we got back to the boat a little late and my father had little or no sympathy for our shenanigans and in the morning he would arrive in our rooms and announce, “Gentlemen if you are going to dance you are going to have to pay the fiddler!” And it seemed the later we had stayed out the night before, the more work he had for us the morning after, or maybe it was just my imagination. Maybe you’ve been there, or maybe you can only imagine.
In the scripture that Kim read this morning we heard events that led up to a party, a party that most of us are familiar with, it is the story that Jesus told of the prodigal son. If you don’t know the story here are some highlights.
There were two sons in the story, two because three would have been too many and one would have been too few. We’ll let Jesus tell this part of the story: Luke 15:11-12 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
Historically and culturally we understand that when the father divided the estate between the sons that the older son would have got the bigger half, in this case he would have received 2/3 and the younger brother would have received 1/3. Which would be fair if you were the older son, maybe wouldn’t seem so fair if you were the younger son. But of course that goes back to “It is what it is” as well.
Of course along with the 2/3 that the older brother would receive he would also be responsible for his parents well being as they got older. The younger son on the other hand would get his 1/3 with no strings attached.
I don’t know if the older son wanted his share up front or not, but he got it, and with it he got the responsibility of dealing with Ma and Pa. Now what the sons received was not necessarily just money, although that was a good part of it. But the most important thing that the sons received was control over their destiny. Up to that point they were still under Dad’s control but with their inheritance they obtained their freedom.
The father was saying, “I love you my son, enough that I’m ready to let go”
Now we can draw a parallel here with the gift of free will that we are given by God. God is saying, “My child I love you, I love you so much that I never want to be separated from you, and I would never hurt you, and there are times I wish I could keep you from sinning. But I loved you so much that I gave you your freedom, even if you use it to be separated from me.”
This man loved his son more than words could express and even though he probably had an inkling of what might lay ahead for his youngest he loved him enough to give him the freedom to choice his own path.
The analogy is for the free will that our heavenly Father gives us, the freedom to make good choices or the freedom to make bad choices. But it is a freedom and they are our choices. Well I’m sure you know the story and if you don’t you can probably guess what happens next: Jesus continues the story in Luke 15:13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
Different translation use different words to describe how he spent his money. The NKJV called it Prodigal, the KJ called it riotous, the TEV said it was reckless and the NIV and CEV call it wild living. Now to be truthful we really don’t know what the kid did with his money, “Prodigal Living?” I didn’t even know that prodigal was a word. Prodigal doesn’t mean that you have left the faith it simply describes a style of living. A person can be a prodigal and have absolutely no connection to Christ or his church.