In Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-52) there are actually two prodigals. Both sons disappointed the father. If I can understand the problem, then I can walk in a way that’s pleasing to God.
You’re probably wondering why I said that both of the sons disappointed the father. Most people teach that only the younger son was in the wrong. Actually, they both had the same problem, they just handled it differently.
The Scripture shows that the two sons had an incorrect view of their relationship to the father. After spending all of his inheritance, the younger brother made this statement.
‘I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
He had lived his life on the assumption that his father wanted him to be a servant. As a result, he broke free by demanding his inheritance and leaving home.
The older brother had the same view of his father. But instead of leaving, he lived under it his whole life. It all came out when the younger brother returned and the father wanted to know why the older brother didn’t want to celebrate.
But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.’
Did you hear him?
“All these years I’ve been your servant.”
Both sons were under the assumption that the father wanted them as slaves. Nothing was further from the truth. The father was looking for faithful sons who he could entrust all of his possessions to.
It’s the same in our walk with the Lord. How do you see yourself? Do you think that God wants you for a slave? If so, then you’re headed down the same road as the prodigal.
You might turn out like the older brother and spend your life in frustration thinking that God’s treating you unfairly. Or you may respond like the younger, giving up on serving God altogether.
The truth is that God doesn’t want you to be His slave. He’s looking for mature sons and daughters who will carry out His will on the earth.
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Our goal should be to learn how to mature in Christ. To be a faithful representative of the Lord on earth. The Father is looking for adult sons and daughters who will live according to the leading of His Spirit in us.
Question: How does laying aside the slave mentality help you in your walk with God?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014