The urgency of our circumstances can lead us to compromise which increases our comfort at the cost of our fortune. We can be so focused on relieving the immediate irritant that we exchange the promise of our future for the portion of a servant. The only hope we have in that place of desperation is the love of a Father who’s grace and abundance exceeds our choices and intentions. He honors us even when we don’t honor our place with him in exchange for lies born of our desperation.
When the prodigal son left home, blew his fortune and ended up eating with the pigs, he finally had enough. He was a son but instead of choosing to return home as a son, he chose to return home in a state of compromise. Luke 15:17-19: “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
The mindset of the prodigal is not unlike many in the church today. Catch that? I said in the church; not outside the church. The church is full of sons who believe lies which lead them to a place of compromise. The lies that prodigals believe which resonate long after they return to the house are found in the passage above.
- Others are better off because of their apparent circumstances – looking around and thinking that others are more favored or more spiritual because they have stuff is a trap of the American church. We value things as validation that God is blessing because we define “blessing” externally instead of internally. The kingdom is born of the heart, not the bank account.
- They are sinners – when the son focuses on his sin instead of his relational privilege, it leads him down the path of slavery. Focusing on the sin requires comparison against the law, which is the way of death. Knowing the relationship leads to the proper accommodations for a son inside the house, not relegated to the quarters of a servant outside of the house always wanting and hoping for more.
- They are not worthy – the consequence of sin based identity is that there is shame and self-deprecation. Understand that God isn’t saying this about His sons, it is the sons that are saying this about themselves in contrast to what the Father declares. Shame was absent from Adam and Eve even when they were naked in the garden. Restoration of the way things as they were originally intended does not include shame. Sons are worthy because Dad says so.
- The only way out of this mess is into slavery – this is religion. This is what happens when we receive the revelation of our need for salvation and attempt to answer the invitation with efforts instead of surrender. We get about doing “God’s work” so “He can use” us. What a bunch of nonsense. The response to the call to salvation is one through the grace of Jesus and is not in any way dependent on doing stuff to earn our keep as slaves would.
Have you returned home but remained in the servant’s quarters? If so, isn’t it time to gather your stuff and come into the House?