Summary: Just like the Prodigal son our self-sufficiency leaves us spent and worn-out as we leave our Father to make a name for ourselves. Like the younger son, we want the father Dead to enjoy the world he created for us without his rules. The Father lets us go
Message: The Prodigal Father!
Texts: Luke 15:11-24
Date: July 31
Pastor: Dave McBeath
This morning I want to begin with a confession. One of my greatest struggles is self-sufficiency and this self-sufficiency usually results in my being tired, worn out, or spent!
Sometimes my self-sufficiency is related to over-confidence in myself and sometimes my self-sufficiency related to my lack of confidence in myself. However, I can always be sure of this my struggle with self-sufficiency is always related to my pride.
Here are a few examples. Let me start with one from my over-confidence. In college I realized God had given me a heart for ministry and was calling me to make this my vocation. So, I made plans to go to seminary.
Here is the self-sufficient part. Looking back, I had a good chance to go to seminary and get it paid for by the church I was attending. Even more than that, after I attended this seminary for a semester or two I could have got a job with the same church….AND gotten paid for ministry while in seminary. Money in the pocket and seminary paid for! Win…Win!.
The catch—I needed to go to seminary that I had some very minor differences with—like what will happen when God returns! The differences really amounted to a hill’s worth of beans. They were nothing. As a matter of fact, today, I would probably agree with many of little disagreements I had with the school back then. Anyway, I thought it would be better to be self-sufficient than to entertain any different ways of interpreting a minor passage or two in the Bible! I wanted to make it on my own!
So I went to a seminary that I had to pay for myself, where I didn’t have an opportunity to work in ministry right away. I had to have two or three jobs at one point to pay for school. I spent my time, my energy, my money, I didn’t make as much room for Paula and our new marriage as a result. I was spent all because I was overconfident. I pridefully and self-sufficiently wouldn’t entertain another person’s point of view! I knew what was right and I paid for it as a result!
Other times my self-sufficiency is driven not by my confidence but my lack of confidence. I have to prove to myself—I can do it by myself! I have to build my self-worth by doing it myself. A quick example: I am not that handy! But I want to be! I have to prove I can fix, let say the toilet—and I do! But what should have taken 30 minutes took me 6 hours. I feel good about myself. But my family doesn’t. I’m spent by the time I’m done. I could have spent the day with the family if I would have asked someone how to do it, or even asked them to do it for me. But I wouldn’t have “built” my self-worth.
Don’t we do this with God too? Don’t we choose self-sufficiency over God? Maybe you’re in a relationship or even a marriage, its going bad. But you have to be self-sufficient. You have to fix it on your own. You don’t go to a counselor for help, or God for help. And you spend yourself trying to fix that relationship ‘till you have nothing left to give.
Don’t we go thru life and we want to do it ourselves. We pridefully think we have all the answers and we end up in trouble. God’s old school, we think. So we get into a relationship we know is wrong and it turns toxic. We’ve spent all of our energy pursing this relationship and we have nothing left… but hurt.
We take a job even though we know some of the things the boss wants us to do border on not being ethical. We work and we work for the company, we spend less and less time with God. We spend ourselves, all of who we are, and we end up with no job, noting to show for our effort because of the lawsuit that shuts the place down or the IRS lien that makes the company have to lay-off employees.
I don’t know about you, but when I choose self-sufficiency over God, I sometimes don’t want to go back to God. Sometimes I wonder if he wants me back after I’ve left him like I did! After the mistakes I’ve made!! Have you ever felt that way? If you have this message is for you.
Today we are going to look at the parable of the prodigal son once again. This time we are going to focus on the Father. Instead of calling this message “The Prodigal Son—I am calling it “The Prodigal Father.” I will explain why later!