Lost Things

Lost Things

As we read Luke 15 it might well be described as a chapter of lost things; a lost sheep, a lost coin, and even a lost person. Yet as we read these stories we can also rejoice along with the characters in these stories that it is also a chapter of restored things! Of a precious sheep that wandered away and was lost, of a valuable coin that was lost at home, but the final parable, commonly known as the prodigal son, has elements of both these ideas. I tend to think of this story, not just as the tale of the prodigal son, singular, but as an account of the lost sons, plural. One son who wandered away from home, like the sheep, and was lost and the other son who was also in a sense lost, but like the coin, lost at home! This narrative of the prodigal son is a well-known one, a well loved one, and much could, and has been said about it, but I just want to draw out this element concerning the two sons. One son was rebellious, wishing his father dead so that he could receive his inheritance; Luke15:12; the other was jealous and angry wishing his brother dead so he could receive the praise; Luke15:28. These two boys are a picture of many, there are those who rebel and cannot wait to throw of what they consider the shackles of home, religion, rules, and embrace the life of Riley, doing their own thing, whether that be good, or as in this case, bad. There are others who live what appears to be a good life, not departing from their Christian upbringing, putting on the appearance of goodness, helping others, attending church, and even possessing a form of Christianity. Both these groups of people, visualized in these two sons, are equally lost from a true relationship with their father. Looking into this situation from the outside the lostness of one of these sons is easy to spot the other much more difficult to spot as it is a matter of their heart which is not so obvious from their behavior. People like this have learned how to behave, the schoolmaster of life may even have taught them to avoid certain sins, and they may even appear to be becoming more righteous as life goes on but their heart remains unchanged, there is indeed righteousness but it is self-righteousness. However, place them in the right circumstances as this parable does and it does become obvious, revealing the sinful heart of both, one full of lust the other full of pride. We find in this parable in Luke 15 that the father breaks from acceptable behavior to seek both his sons out. He is seen running to greet the returning prodigal, and he is seen leaving a feast he has thrown to seek the jealous elder son. In the culture that this story is told both these acts of the father would be considered inappropriate. The application is easy to make, this story leaves no excuse for the sinner, it takes two extremes, the religious and the rebellious, and in doing so it includes all people in between showing to us our lost condition. The father sought one from the far country and he sought the other near home. The heart of the father is revealed here in that he desires a relationship with both his sons, that no matter how good we think we are we are in need of the grace and activity of the Father to be brought into relationship with Him. No matter how far we have fallen it is not so far that He will not welcome home His erring child. The sadness of this story is, although we understand the repentance and return and the glorious acceptance of the prodigal son, we cannot from this story conclude that the elder brother accepted the grace of the father to join the feast. How marvelous that the grace of God can save the deepest dyed sinner but how terrible and unthinkable that there may be some who are so close to the kingdom of God and yet they will be lost! Please make it a matter of priority and of prayer to give consideration to your relationship with our Father in heaven, a relationship that is only possible through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether in the far country or close to home, the Father comes to you seeking you out. These issues are too serious to put off, therefore, I would implore you to reach for the hand of the gracious father while it is extended to you, accept His offer to enter his heavenly home and to know peace with God. I pray you do so and the rejoicing and joy over the restoration of someone who has been lost, like the characters in this story, might be your experience also.