The Prodigal Son of Luke 15 is a very interesting story. I like how Jesus illustrated His teachings by the use of parables. One aspect of this particular parable has hit closer to home than I care to admit…
If I could just review this story with you for a moment: greedy, disrespectful son asks his dad for his inheritance. The son intends to take what he has coming (while his father is still alive!) and go off and live the high life. The father obliges his son and gives him his share of the inheritance and the son takes off without a backward glance.
This is mistake number 1. The son is discontent with his life, even though it appears he has a good life with his father and brother. He wants more than what he is due at this time in his life and is actually so impatient to have his worldly desires sated that he cannot wait for his father to die to collect his inheritance! His discontent is revealed in his grumbling and complaining about all that he does not have right now.
The father must have been heartbroken as he gave his son his share of the family goods. I can only imagine the impatient foot tapping of the son as each coin was counted out and put into his sack. He was so anxious to get away! He was so ready to be independent and free from his father and his life as he knew it. I wonder if the father counted slowly, trying to draw out the remaining minutes with his beloved son, hoping he would change his mind and stay.
When the money was counted out and the son had his full share he blew out of town without so much as a look over his shoulder or a wave at his father who surely stood there and watched him walk away.
Before long the son finds himself broke, starving, in wretched condition physically and so bad off he is longing to eat the pods fed to the swine. It was here, in the pig pen that the son finally got a clue. It was as he fed the pigs that which he could not even eat; as he wallowed in their filth and excrement exposed to the elements and miserable that he realized what he gave up and how he got in the pig sty.
I hate it when I wake up in the pig sty. When the day dawns and my spiritual consciousness arrives at the conclusion that I am in it deep and I stink, I am covered in filth and spiritually starving again. Why is it that there are just times we don’t see it until we have wallowed a while? Why don’t we recognize the beginnings of discontent while they are just small thoughts, simple desires and wrong beliefs?
We blunder on, blind to the idols of our hearts that pull us toward the slop of “having my own way,” and “having what I want.” We forget to be thankful for all that we have by grace, and we whine and complain that it is not enough. Our idols grow in stature and despite our protestations and proclamations of righteousness we are truly idol worshipers…self worshipers.
Has worshiping self ever gotten you anyplace other than the pig sty? Have you ever come out of idolatry smelling pure and sweet, washed clean and radiant? More likely, you (like me) came to your senses and realized what a foul stench you had become to God and all those downwind of you.
The only option of the Believer is repentance. The only way out of the pig sty is past the cross of Jesus Christ. As you lay at the foot of the cross in worship of Him and His glory and majesty you are washed clean by His lavish grace and mercy. All of heaven rejoices when a sinner repents for it puts the cross of Jesus on grand display and our awesome God is brought much glory! For it is nice for a “good” person to be forgiven, but it is nothing short of amazing when an evil person is forgiven.
So, I have climbed out of the pig sty and once again gone to that blessed cross. I came stinking and wretched and foul and He has washed me white as snow. All I can do is lift my hands in worship and praise- Oh what a Savior!