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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.”—Luke 15:11–12 (ESV)
Have you ever seen a really spoiled kid? The kind that throws tantrums and feels entitled to whatever he wants? That’s exactly who we see here in Jesus’ parable. Now, you may be thinking, What was so wrong with what he did? He just wanted to go out and do his own thing, right? Well, by asking his father for his inheritance WHILE HIS FATHER WAS STILL ALIVE, it was like this son was saying . . . “Dad, I wish you were dead. I don’t care about you, all I care about is your stuff!”
In any culture, this would be a huge slap in the face. But in first century Jewish culture, this was completely unheard of. It was a huge insult, the kind of thing that would have led anyone to actually LOSE their inheritance.
How sad is it that, just like this son rebelled against his father and insulted him deeply, we as humans have the tendency to do the same to God? Think about it: The son wanted all of his father’s blessings and inheritance without having a relationship with him, and so often we want the blessings and inheritance that can only come from our heavenly Father without having an actual relationship with Him.
It’s kind of like expecting to stream TV and movies on Netflix without actually having a Netflix account—it just doesn’t work that way! I can’t enjoy Netflix without being a member of Netflix. In the same way, I can’t receive the blessings of God—peace, joy, hope, purpose, salvation, and eternal life in heaven—without a relationship with Him. I can’t receive this amazing inheritance if I’m not part of His family.
And the saddest thing about it all is that when we seek after the blessings and inheritance of God apart from Him, we’re missing out on the best part! We can’t truly, fully enjoy any blessing apart from the source of the blessing. The only thing that can bring us satisfaction is a deep, intimate relationship with God. At the end of the day, whether we realize it or not, that’s what we’re craving, what we’re longing and searching for.
What we’re actually desiring is the Source of blessing. You see, God made us with a longing that can only be satisfied by Him. It’s been said that we’ve been created with a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only God can fill. Many times, we try to fill that hole with stuff, but just how no one else could fit Cinderella’s slipper, stuff will never fill our God-shaped hole either. The only thing that can is knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:1–12).
DIG: Why was the son’s behavior so offensive and hurtful?
DISCOVER: In what ways do we treat our Father in heaven the same way the son treated his father in this parable?
DO: Pray and ask the Lord to forgive you for any time you have sought to receive blessings apart from fellowship and devotion to Him.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.