Two Ways to Waste Your Life – Religious Rebels

 “This man receiveth sinners!”   Jesus answers the Pharisees heart murmurings with a series of stories concluding with the story of two prodigal sons, two wasted lives

This story unfolds as an incredible drama with unthinkable twists and an unforgettable ending! 

The Pharisees gasped as the embarrassed, insulted father gives his youngest son the inheritance.  Why didn’t the father physically driven him out of his family?  But even more unthinkable.  The father took him back when he had wasted all and even rejoiced and reinstated him as his son!

No doubt, they related with the older son’s indignation as he stood insulting his embarrassed father outside of, most likely, the largest feast his father had ever thrown.  For he had never “transgressed at any time,” and now his inheritance was being divided  yet again with this sinner, this “lover of prostitutes.”  With his record of service, it was only right that the father let him decide what to do with his inheritance! 

In spite of the insulting language, public embarrassment and outright rebellion the father graciously invites the older son into the feast and to remain in his family.  It was not his desire to drive either son out but to be feast with both.

 The listener’s are on the edge of their seats!  Will the family finally be reunited in love?  Will the brothers be reconciled?  Will the older son be softened by this remarkable offer and be reconciled to his father?  And as all these thoughts whirl in the minds of the listeners…Jesus turns and walks away.  That’s right!  The story ends!  Not even a, “to be continued!”

Why doesn’t Jesus finish the story?!  Because the real audience is the Pharisees.   When the story ends, it is the religious rebel that is still left at odds with his father. 

The story shows the parallels between the two “sinners.”   For both sons became angry when the Father didn’t do what they thought he should.  Both resented their father’s authority.  Both manipulated to get control of their life.  Both rebelled. 

What was the common denominator in these two wasted lives?  Their heart motive.  Neither son wanted the father HIMSELF!  They both were using the father for their own self-centered ends rather than loving, enjoying, and serving him for his own sake.

So, I leave you with quesions, as Jesus left his audience.   

How do you respond when it seems that your faithfulness is not rewarded? What would be your response if:  you stood for right with your teenage peers and you lose your friends?  all of your kids didn’t grow up to serve God, or none of them did?  if after all your faithfulness, your retirement plan is decimated?  if you contract a fatal illness or your child does? 

  What does your response reveal about your motivation in service? Who are you truly serving? 

What does Jesus teach is the key to an “unwasted” life? 

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