This post is about my morning devotion last 30-Sept-2010. I’m sharing it coz it brings new light into the story of the prodigal son – at least for me.
Usually, the prodigal son is used as a bad example, which people are exhorted not to emulate. Until now, the only good thing I thought the prodigal son did was to decide to find his way back home. This below looks at it from another perspective: he found legitimate work(even though it was demeaning) to do when he was in need.
Text 2 Thess 3:6-12
In Luke 15:11-32, after the prodigal son wasted his wealth in a strange land, he began to be in want. He was hungry. The citizens of that country who attached themselves to him while he was on a spending spree deserted him when he had nothing left.
Not even one of them could offer him some assistance. A lord had began to be in want. He was faced with several options if he would remain in that country. He could fold his hands and starve until the day of death. He could become a thief and live on the labours of others. Or he could take up a job. He preferred the last option. He searched for a decent job but could not get any, until he finally settled for a menial job – feeding swines in a farm. From his action, we learn that in the midst of adversity, it is still better to take a legitimate alternative. If he had taken to crime, he would have never lived to see his restoration. Many people who left the shores of Nigeria have taken to crime – in the name of harsh economic climate encountered in host countries. If the prodigal son could take up a menial job, why go into prostitution, robbery, credit card and computer fraud? Why indulge in acts that tarnish the name of Jesus Christ that you are named by? The action of the prodigal son stands to condemn all who venture into crime in the name of survival. You are without excuse.
Another lesson from this story is that when the prodigal son spent everything, he humbled himself to start from the scratch. He ignored the fact that he was a multil-millionaire, cruising on several limousines, and living in the pent house of their five star hotels. He ignored how he once painted the town red. He refused to die through laziness and idleness. He took up the least paid legitimate job to keep body and soul together. We need to learn from him! Some Christians stopped working after they lost their big jobs. Pride has prevented them from accepting lesser offers. Some hide under the cloak of spirituality by saying, I am waiting on the Lord for direction”. Good. But how long would you wait? Some are in that situation for two, three or even five years. Remember, today’s reading says anyone who is healthy and old enough to work, but refuses to work should not eat. That is people should not feel sorry for the lazy and slothful fellow. If you don’t eat for a period, death follows. Are you jobless? Find something legitimate to do or else, Heaven counts you unworthy of this planet. Humble yourself. Accept the opportunity the Lord provides even if it is not the ideal job you desire. As you take it up and pray, God will provide something better.
Action point: No matter how harsh the economic climate is, there is something for you to do.
I usually disagree with people who say that hunger and poverty is responsible people who resort to armed robbery, kidnap for ransom – the latest occupation in Nigeria, stealing etc. A hungry man cannot kidnap anybody. It takes a well fed human being / group of human being to come together, hold ammunition, plan and strategize on how to steal, kill and destroy, and even make a successful getaway to avoid the law. A really hungry man would have sold his ammunition and bought food to eat.
If anyone was supposed to be an armed robber, the prodigal son was qualified. He could have stolen the properties of his boss, and robbed him clean. The Bible doesn’t tell us the owner of the swine had any information about the family background of the prodigal son; so if he(prodigal son) decided to commit any atrocities, we could assume he had a very good opportunity of making an escape. Besides, his friends who helped him spend his money might be birds of the same feather.
Permit me to say that I don’t think the prodigal son fed swine in his own fathers house. According to him:
Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Luk 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
He was obviously a king in his own fathers house. He is called a prodigal son for wasting his fathers wealth, his own inheritance; but today, a lot of lazy people are more prodigal than the Bible’s prodigal son out of their decision to be lazy, to reap from where they didn’t sow: corruption; engaging themselves in fraudulent activities and blaming their actions on poverty and hunger.