Summary: This is week two looking at the prodigal son and this week we look at what happened the day after the celebration
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 was 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.
Last week we looked at the story, and it begins with these words.
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.
There were two sons in the story, two because three would have been too many and one would have been too few.
Last Sunday we focused on the younger son, the one we know as the Prodigal Son. How he asked his father to divide his estate.
Tradition tells us that the estate would have been divided with the older son getting 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 but 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 parent’s 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 choose his own path.
This is of course an analogy 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.
The younger son chose to leave home and he chose how he would spend his money and if you are familiar with the parable you know that there came a time that after he had spent all his money he had to take a job tending pigs to survive. And that’s where we pick up the story in Luke 15:17-19 When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”