By Jimmy Mickells
In Luke 15, Jesus reveals several parables about thing that are lost. There was a lost sheep, a lost coin, and two lost sons. They were lost for different reasons; the sheep because of its own negligence, the coin because of the negligence of someone else, the younger son because of a choice he made, and the older son because of his attitude. Yet they were all lost. In the parable of the prodigal son, he had his father to give him his portion of goods that he was to inherit, took a journey to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living (Luke 15:12-13). It was pointed out later in this text that he had devoured his assets with harlots (Luke 15:3).
After he had been in this country for a time, there was a severe famine in the land. Having wasted his wealth, he now finds himself in need of the necessities of life. In an effort to provide the things he needed, he takes a job of feeding the pigs, which was an unclean animal to the Jews. Even the feed that he was giving to the swine looked appealing to him at this time, yet no one provided for him (Luke15:13-16). In verse 17, the Bible says, “But when he came to himself. . .” Finally this young man opened his eyes of perception and realized some things that he needed and was willing to act upon this observation. There are some valuable lessons here for each of us as well.
He realized his condition. “. . .I perish with hunger” (Luke 15:17); “. . .I have sinned” (Luke 15:18). How many people today, if they died in the condition they are now in, would perish (lose their souls)? Do they understand this? I’m so afraid that the majority of the people in the world do not begin to comprehend their lost and unprepared state. They perish, not from hunger, but from a lack of appetite. This is true of some members of the Lord’s church just like it is true of the people in the world.
Where is the intense craving today for the word of God (1 Peter 2:2)? Do we really want to know what the Lord has said so that we can do it? Or, do we think that ignorance is bliss (Acts 17:3)? The Bible says the blessed man is the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Are you willing to examine your life in light of what the scripture teaches and make the necessary changes to be pleasing to the heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 13:5)? If you found yourself in sin, would you do as the prodigal son—confess such and repent? In a country of plenty, people are perishing because they have no desire for spiritual food or spiritual exercise. How sad!
He realized the one who could help. “I will arise and go to my father. . .” (Luke 15:18). It is God, our Father, who can help us. We need Him every second of every day that we live upon this earth. Our help comes not from material prosperity or human wisdom, but from the living God who can give the true bread from heaven and water where we shall never thirst again (John 4:13-14; 6:32-33). It is only through Christ Jesus that we can have access to our Father from which all blessings flow (John 14:6; James 1:17). A number of religions today think they can have God without Jesus. The Bible teaches the impossibility of such. Jehovah said, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Who is the One that can help? It is God the Father. How can one have access to the Father? It is by coming to His Son—listening to Him.
He realized that he must act. “I will arise and go. . .” (Luke 15:18). God will always do His part, but I must be willing to do mine as well. I read an article in a local paper, while living in
Nashville, which said there is nothing for us to do for salvation; Jesus did it all about two thousand years ago. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Christ certainly did His part, but there is something that God requires of me. Notice the statement of the apostle Paul. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). I have to obey the commands of my Lord. Does He have faith for me (Hebrews 11:6)? No! Does He repent for me (Luke 13:3)? No! Does He confess for me (Matthew 10:32-33)? No! Is He baptized for me (Mark 16:16)? No! Does He live my life of righteousness for me (Revelation 2:10)? No! It is only the obedient that will be saved by His grace (Hebrews 5:8-9).
As you think about your spiritual standing before God, is there something that is lacking? If you realize there is, why not do like the prodigal son and take the necessary action to correct the problem? Turn to the Father, seek His help and guidance. He has a place waiting for those that love and serve Him—heaven.