We live as tenants on earth, having our lives governed by different sets of principles. We can either choose to live under God’s principles or follow those of the world. This same choice is like that of a tenant who lives in any residential area that pleases them. God calls us to dwell in His Kingdom but just like tenants we have the choice to move out and go to the world. Jesus Christ told of the parable of the prodigal son while explaining how the Kingdom operates and in view of this a lot can be revealed about our lives.
- New Apartments
The idea that the grass is greener on the other side usually makes us not see the advantages of what we have in our possession. Sometimes the thought of moving to a new place is very appealing especially if the other place looks better than where we are living currently. The neighborhood may be more posh, the finishing on the floors a bit better, the rent is much lower and all your colleagues are living in the same place or similar apartments. The apartments seem to be better and the pressure from our peers gives us that extra push to move.
In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus talks about a younger son who leaves home with his inheritance in search of something better than what he had at home. Although the family was well off, he chooses to find new pleasures in the world, he moves to a new apartment.
Luke 15: 11-13 Then He (Jesus) said, “A certain man had two sons, and the younger of them said to the father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not so many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.”
Just like the younger son, we may choose to leave God’s ways and choose to live according to the world because it is more appealing. Everyone else seems to live to the world’s standards and just as the new apartments have lower rents, the price to pay while walking with God seems too high. It is much easier to walk in sin and follow the attractive things in the world compared to walking in righteousness and self-control. The father did not argue with the son as to why he should not move in fact he gave him his due inheritance; God gives us free will to either go with the world or stay with him. He even blesses us with talents and resources regardless of our choice because he loves us all as His children. We choose the house; He gives the inheritance regardless the choice.
- Leaking Roofs
It is funny how problems with new houses seem to pop up like immediately after you move in but you failed to notice them earlier. Our emotions normally cloud our judgment and we only begin to think rationally when it’s too late and we have already moved in. It is then that we realize that the roofs are leaking during rainy seasons, that locks begin to break or stop working and the landlord takes too long to fix them. Rent is hiked without due notice and the friends who suggested the place are nowhere in sight if you are in need of financial assistance. The same people, who we partied with in our new house as they congratulated us, are now criticizing us for having made the worst investment with that place. Suddenly the new apartment is not all that, in fact it is a liability.
For the prodigal son all seemed to be going well until his wealth ran out and the place he had moved to had a drought. Having nothing and no one to call a friend, he resulted to taking odd jobs just to get a meal. From a state of opulence, the world had turned him into a popper.
Luke 15:14-16 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
The world always seems to be perfect until life begins to turn for the worse. We are so attracted to the few good things, happiness and material things that we fail to notice the glaring reality of many bad things. The cold, hard reality is that as long as we conform to the earthly system, our heavenly worth is lost and instead of enjoying our abundant life, we live as though dining with pigs. Sin has no good value in it yet the world assures us that it’s worth everything. Immorality, pride, materialism, hatred all get embedded in us and no one exposes it us wrong. They only judge us when the effects of such things are manifested in our lives; that is how the world runs. The world will eat you up and spit you out, learn from the experience of others.
- Cost Benefit Analysis
When we start borrowing money to pay for rent and suddenly our ‘friends’ seem to ignore our phone calls because all we do is borrow money, reality checks in. Siting on the floor, which has nice tile finishing, because my chairs have been auctioned due to loans I could not pay, can be a sobering experience. It is at this point that I analyze and try to see a better way to live; sleeping on a cold floor, any mattress regardless the size is a better option.
The pain and affliction made the prodigal son reconsider his living conditions. He was eating what the pigs ate yet his father had plenty of food even for servants. In his desperation it seemed even better to bear the humiliation that would come from him going back home with nothing. He was willing to go back as a servant and work with the people who used to serve him; anything was better than eating pig feed.
Luke 15:17-19 But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s 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.”
Many of us face really hard times before turning to Christianity, realizing that the world cannot solve our problems. However the danger lies with those who do not recognize their present state in the world, those who do not know they are eating what is not right, pig feed. It takes humility and self-reflection to realize that I need more than what the world has to offer. The love of God which is unconditional is worth more than what the world has to offer. We have to awake to the reality that unless we depend on Christ, our lives will be mediocre. Nothing else satisfies regardless the worldly gain. Our redemption only comes when we realize there is a better life in Christ.
- Move out!
It became unbearable for the son and he decided to move out from the fields with pigs and go back to his father’s house. He understood where he was and how desperate he was that he could not bear living the same way; he never considered the shame that would meet him if he became a servant, which was better than where he was. Surprisingly when he goes back, his father does not reproach him. In fact the speech he had prepared was never finished because his father was so happy to see him that he could not let him speak. Not only is he welcomed home, he is restored as a son and a big celebration is held, no questions asked.
Luke 15:20-24 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill eat, and let us eat and be merry.”
True life begins when we decide to turn from the world and accept God’s love for us and repent of our sins. We become who we were created to be and our purpose in life is defined. Lucky enough our Father is forgiving and generous and all good things are available to us. Several symbolic acts were displayed by the father that illustrate what happens to us when repent and get saved.
- The embrace of the father- shows God’s unconditional love, in that, regardless how far we stray He loves us and is excited to see us return.
- The best robe- symbolizes the covering of guilt and shame that comes from our life in the world. We were as rags in the world but coming to God we are made new, whatever was said of us no longer holds as we have been forgiven.
- The ring- it is symbolic of ownership, as God is declaring you as His child just as you are. He is not asking you to change and become perfect before he can accept you, He accepts you with all your issues. The ring also shows the authority we have in the body of Christ and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It places us in the place of sonship and not servants.
- The sandals to cover his feet- though we walked in danger and in darkness, we are now protected and God promises to watch over all that we do.
- The party- when we come to Christ, heaven celebrates with us and rejoicing is also in us in that our freedom in Him brings out the joy of salvation.
- House party
On the other hand there are those neighbors who never left in the first place. They follow all the rules and behave in an admirable manner; paying rent on time, not keeping noisy pets, watching their kids so that they do not cause havoc to the other residents. They are generally good people living quiet lives and do not even hold house parties as they could be an inconvenience to the other residents. For many, their lives are boring; they never experience the goodness of where they live.
The older brother was this kind of tenant, always doing what was expected of him but never really experiencing his privileges as a son. He is surprised to find people celebrating and making merry at home while he was in the field all along. Despite being in his father’s inheritance, he lived like a servant.
Luke 15:25-28 Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.” But he was angry and would not go in. therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
Sadly, many Christians live the like the older son in that we abide in the Lord all our lives yet we never really experience His glory. We are content with doing all the works-pray, fast, minister- yet never tap into the kingdom for our blessings. We live insignificant lives counting our days to eternity, forgetting our mandate to bring God’s Kingdom on earth. Unless we realize that we all have blessings to claim, our walk will be dull as we live like servants in our own homes. Loosen up; we all deserve a house party.
- Noisy neighbors
Disgruntled by tenants who seem to ‘break the rules’ the quiet tenant may attack them in a bid to defend his perceived rights. They can do this by either criticizing such behavior as having house parties or even filing complaints to the landlord. However the landlord may have given provision to such things, allowing people to have a good time in their houses. In fact the only reason the quiet tenant never knew of such provisions is that he never spent time with the landlord inquiring of such provisions, he assumed that his understanding of house rules was the only way to go.
The older brother had his own understanding of what a son was and what was expected of him. Spending all his inheritance on pleasures and women had no place in his scenario and so he was angry at the fact that his father was more than willing to take in his younger brother. He had stayed home, worked in the fields and his inheritance was still available yet no one had prepared a party for him; his brother on the other hand just showed up and a party is done. It just did not seem fair and his brother was like the noisy tenants. However the father’s perception was very different, it was about relation not action. Stay home or stray to the world, a son remains a son. Despite their differences, they were both his sons.
Luke 15:29-32 So he answered and said to his father, “Lo, this many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
Walking in salvation for a long time can blind us to seeing the new things God is doing in the lives of other people. We easily begin to grumble when those we perceive to be ‘unworthy’ seem to obtain God’s favor. We judge new believers when they do not conform to set standards of Christianity in terms of clothing, music, ways of ministry and much more. When God rewards their love and service we hold an inward feeling of envy in that we did more yet receive less. We have to recognize that God loves us all and in humility we need to acknowledge that His wisdom is above our understanding, he can use anything for His glory regardless how we perceive it. God uses the noisy neighbors to shout His praise.
The kingdom is like a rental house where we stay by choice and our quality of stay is dependent on how we exercise our privileges.
- The prodigal son, can you relate? (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
- The Prodigal Son (beingrebekah.com)
- A Prodigal Moment (emptythyself.com)
- Gloria Wendroff – The Heaven Letters – Behind The Story Of The Prodigal Son – 25 September 2012 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- Fatherhood (theabsoluteauthentic.com)
- Going Home (reeknittingwordswithgod.wordpress.com)
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 I communed with my heart saying, “Look I have attained greatness and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceive that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
It would not be fair to leave you with this information and let you try to change by your own wisdom and strength-it is like chasing the wind. Only in Jesus Christ does all this make sense and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit will we know the way to go. Say this prayer and receive a new life..
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life, according to Romans 10:9-10—“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.
I am now reborn! I am a Christian—a child of Almighty God! I am saved! You also said in Your Word, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). I am also asking You to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, rise up within me as I praise God. I fully expect to speak with other tongues as You give me utterance (Acts 2:4).
The prayer was obtained from the Kenneth Copeland Ministries.