Southern Baptist Convention

And He said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want (Luke 15:11-14).

One of Jesus' favored methods of teaching was by parable. There were many reasons for this, as Jesus himself explained (Matt. 13:10-16). The primary reason was so that His message would reach the people that were ready and willing to hear it. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath (13:12). In order to learn from the teachings of our Lord, we must open ourselves to receive His Word. We must approach Scripture prayerfully, with an attitude of worship and submission. If we go about it in any other way, we will just be reading words on a page. The living God is with us always, ready to teach and explain; all that is required of us is a willingness to learn.

There are several parables in today's reading. One of the most widely known is the story of the prodigal son. It is often cited as an example of God's unfailing love and forgiveness, even unto the final hours. However, especially when read in conjunction with the parable of the rich man and the beggar (Luke 16:19-31), it also sends a strong message to us about the dangers of a wasted life. The self-centered prodigal son resented his father's authority and wished to be free to do what he chose. In short, he wanted to be his own master.

The fall of the younger son began when he claimed "his right" to his father's interests. Long before he went into a far (foreign) country he displayed his astonishing lack of love and respect for his father. When we refer to a "prodigal son," most of us are referring to a person that has rebelled against authority by living a wild lifestyle. However, by definition, a prodigal is a waster. It is not how the son disposed of his father's interests that matters; it is the fact that he believed he had the right to do it in the first place that is so disturbing. While he eventually realized the errors of his ways when he began to be in want, his initial attitude could have just as easily caused him to be lost forever, as was the case with the rich man that didn't come to his senses until he wound up in hell (16:19-31)

When we live to please only ourselves, as both the prodigal son and the rich man did, we are claiming our rights and position here on the earth while simultaneously denying our true citizenship in heaven. When it comes to our relationship with God, we have no "rights," only responsibilities and privileges. As followers of Christ Jesus, we dare not make secular goals, material gain, and physical satisfactions our priorities. While we will always rejoice when the lost are found, it is our responsibility to strive to live as the elder son lived, in obedience and love. In that way, we too will someday hear our Father say:

And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine (Luke 15:31).

Thought for Today:

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not (Is. 30:15).

Christ Revealed:

For Luke 16:15: See Prov. 21:2.

Word Studies:

14:26 hate not . . . = all natural affections are to be as compared with the Christian's devotedness and love for Christ. Jesus clarified this when He said: Who is My mother? and who are My brethren? . . . For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Matt. 12:48-50); 14:32 ambassage = delegation; 15:16 would fain = craved to; 16:11 unrighteous mammon = the use of your money in this world.

Prayer Needs:

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Memory Verse:

John 6:32-38

John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries