Turn in your Bibles to Luke 15.
First, a confession. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard messages or allusions to this passage. The prodigal son is perhaps the most powerful parable to share with someone who isn’t following Jesus. So, to see something new here blew me away. I don’t take credit for this revelation, Albert Tate, a pastor in Monrovia, gets the credit here and I think he found it in a book somewhere.
First a quick review…
In the first parable we find a shepherd who has lost one of a hundred sheep. He leaves the 99 to go outside after the one.
In the second parable we find a woman who has lost one of ten coins. She sweeps her house looking for the lost coin.
In the third we find a man who’s lost one of two sons. The man waits with an eye to the horizon looking for his son to return.
In all three of these stories something lost is sought for, found, and rejoiced over in the finding. We are all lost things in need of being found by our loving Creator. He’ll rejoice to find you!
At this point in the telling I haven’t shared anything “new”, at least not from my “been there, done that” sinful attitude. Sadly, it is easy to take this all for granted. Here we figuratively see the perfect and righteous creator God going out into the night to search for you, or getting down on his knees to search for me. The proper response should be awe, but instead I yawn. Forgive me Lord.
Let’s look at those parables from the another perspective. Where is the lost sheep? Outside the flock. Where is the lost coin? In the house.
From this pattern we know that the lost son is similar to the lost sheep for he has left the flock (family), but which part of the third parable is similar to the lost coin? Here’s the new connection I had never made before. The older brother is the lost coin!
Both sons had one thing but wanted another. They both had their father’s heart for he loved them both a great deal, but they both wanted his wealth instead. The older brother had the same objective as the younger, he just chose a different path to get it. The older brother was lost in the house.
Am I lost in the house? Am I doing all the right things with all the wrong motives? Why do you go to church? Are you just going through the motions hoping you’re earning points somehow?
The fact is, you can’t earn points. What’s more is there are no points. Jesus takes you as you are before and after you begin following Him. Just like both sons had their father’s heart but wanted something else instead, did you have God the Father’s heart only to replace it with something else? To put something else in your life ahead of God is the very definition of idolatry. I am not exempt from this message. All to often I am the older brother, off in the distance, jealous and condemning of my Father’s lavish love, forgiveness, and grace to those I feel are unworthy. Who am I to judge another’s servant?
Lord, help me to seek your heart in my every day life. God, you are greater than any treasure or inheritance. Thank you for seeking me out and making me your treasure.