As Christian men, we have the great benefit of opening up the Word of God, and learning at the feet of Jesus, just like so many did in his day. Imagine being there as he told the story of the Prodigal Son.
Have you ever heard the story of a man named Spencer Penrose, the brother of Philadelphia political leader Boies Penrose, who was regarded by his family as a black sheep for choosing to live in the West instead of the East?
Penrose came to Colorado Springs in 1891 fresh out of Harvard. He hadn’t been there long before he told his brother to $1500 to invest in a mining deal. His brother, in response, sent him $150 for train fare home and warned against the deal.
Years later to Philadelphia and handed his brother Boies $75,000 in gold coins.
Boies looked amazed, then reminded Spencer that he had not gone into the deal, and had sent him only $150 enough to buy a train ticket home.
“That”, replied Spencer, “is why I’m giving you only $75,000. If you’d sent me the $1500, I would be giving you three-quarters of a million right now.”
Wow, that’s what is meant by the term “getting in on the ground floor” of a business.
When it comes to business, just about any business has an inventory time. That is the time when a business takes stock of their goods. It’s a time when the facts must be faced and the Profit & Loss statements are printed.
That is when the AUTHENTIC health of the business is revealed whether good or bad.
Well, in this article, we are going to learn about the Prodigal Son. He was a young man who was given a substantial early inheritance but ended up taking his inventory, in a Pig Pen.
What was it that had brought him to such Loss?
How could such a financial blessing for a young man, heading off to find success, turn into such a waste of time and money?
What was the end result?
To get started we see that this young man was…
- He was Focused on Possessions
Luke 15:11–12 “And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”
This is Perhaps the tenderest story told by Jesus.
As far as we know it’s a fictional story to illustrate a deeper truth. The father, was a good, compassionate, and successful family man. He was the kind of man that any one of us would admire.
In this story, we see the deep grief brought to the father, because of a wayward son. The son had no doubt been thinking that someday, a part of all those things would be his.
At some point when this young man thought he was ready to take on life, the father was approached for an early inheritance.
It was a rather large estate, and worth a lot of money, as we see there were many hired hands to help take care of it all.
Later on, this young man would find that these material things had no real intrinsic value. but now it was all so important to him.
He is not the only one who has found that material things cannot satisfy.
We learn of another man in – Ecclesiastes 1:13–2:13 13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
….Continued in Ecclesiastes 2:1 “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. 4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: 5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: 6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. 12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
King Solomon went as far as any man could pursuing material things, and folly, and in the end he also found them to be empty.
Things are just things.
You see this Prodigal Son was not the first one to suffer the foolish idea that “things” are the answer. This young man said, “I want my share of the family estate and I don’t anything to do with this way of life anymore.”
It was a foolish and selfish idea, to begin with, but he wasn’t willing to reconsider. He had to do it HIS WAY and suffer the consequences himself.
Next, we see that this young man was…
2. He was Focused on Pleasure
Luke 15:13–16 “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”
We see here that after he had received his substantial early inheritance he “Wasted his substance in riotous living”
This young man just had to get into that far country, away from his father. His father was a good and wise man, and a generous man. But this young man thought that all of his problems would be settled by getting away from that amazing environment.
He didn’t realize how great he had it and didn’t realize that so many people out there, wished they could have such a blessed life, as he had.
But this young man was willing to give all that up so he could live what he thought was “the good life”.
He wanted a life of pleasure and parties and girls, and everything else that he desired, and he didn’t care how foolish it was. That is the cry of our sinful flesh.
It says in – Ephesians 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind…”
The cry of the flesh is for pleasure.
Here you have the two directions in which men move.
First, are those who are searching for satisfaction in material goods thinking that a bigger bank account, and more stuff, will solve all their problems.
Second, are those who are searching for constant pleasure, and the satisfaction of all their desires, with leisure and drugs, and booze, and sex.
However, that always ends with the same predictable desperation. It is here that we see the sad picture in the pigpen.
It was there in the slop that this young man…
3. He was Focused on Provision
Luke 15:17 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!”
It says there “When he came to himself”.
Here in the story that Jesus is telling we see that moment of clarity and sincerity. Now that all of those foolish temptations have stripped this young man down to nothing, we see the moment of AUTHENTICITY.
The reality of where he came from and where he was now had peeled away the layers of trying to be something that he wasn’t meant to be.
It was then that he said to himself “How many hired servants have bread enough and to spare”
He did not ignore the situation as some might have done, because he knew better, and had been taught better. But now he was learning the lesson that he didn’t want to hear when he was younger.
He could have said “I’m hungry, but I guess everybody else is too”
He could have said “I’m feeding pigs, but others are too”
Did you know that some people excuse their misery by telling themselves that everybody else must be miserable too? But this young man knew better. He had grown up not only being taught better but, he had personally seen how great life was when he was home.
He just didn’t appreciate how good he had it, but he didn’t want the restrictions that a life of wisdom and responsibility demanded.
Now he had wasted all of his money. The cost of his dereliction was painful! However, it was only then when all of those things had been stripped away.
In this simple moment of authenticity, he realized who he was. He was the beloved son of a wise and wealthy landowner. His Father had not only provided everything that he needed, but his Father also loved him.
In that moment of realization, he responded and it changed his life.
He said there in – Luke 15:18–24 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
This young man finally came to himself and said, “I will arise and go to my father”
The father was there waiting for him to return all along. With open arms he welcomed him home and received him as a son, not a servant.
If you go back and read the account, you would learn that Jesus was telling this story to “publicans and sinners”. These were the tax collectors who were despised and the other outcasts the sinners.
The point Jesus was making is that God the Father loved them and wanted them to turn from the slop of their sin, come home to Him.
If you are already a Christian he still wants YOU to stop with your wanderlust, and find your peace and joy by living closely, and spiritually, with your Heavenly Father.
If you are not yet a believer, Jesus wants you to know that you were made by God and that you were created in His image. You were never meant to wander aimlessly in this world of sin. You were made to live with Him and for Him!
However, just like that Prodigal Son, he leaves the choice up to you.