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« Putting the Devil in his Place | Main | Jesus and Pentecost »

Premeditations of a Prodigal

“A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’” Luke 15:11-12 

Christian educators ought to get their heads examined.  Few endeavors in this world are so seemingly futile.  They are attempting to paddle a light-weight canoe upstream in whitewater rapids, often with one paddle, with riders standing up and rocking the boat, and little help to get it done.  Yet, they know if they jump out, the sharp rocks and strong current will kill everybody on board.  If they jump and make it to shore, the wild animals will devour them.  And if they stop paddling, nobody will step in and take over. (I remind you that ALL of us are teachers!) 

In case you haven’t checked your coordinates lately, nearly every position we have staked out is either unpopular or scorned. Mainstream Christianity has betrayed us. The dominant media are hostile to us. The music of young people is hostile. The fads and fashions of our youth culture are against us. The internet is hostile to us. The moral corruption of our society is hostile to us. Social issues, like abortion and alternate lifestyles, are against us. The failing family unit is against us. The educational community is hostile to us. Most politicians are hostile to us. The economics of Christian education ranges from difficult to laughable.

In fact, if you examine everything from a logical, sociological, political or economic perspective, no case can be made for what you are doing! And yet, you keep on going! Why? Because you know that you may not change the world, but you may very well change one boy or one girl. That one, small goal must be enough to drive you on. 

Look at the environment in which the prodigal grew up. He had prosperity, security and prestige. Like most average parents, his father tried to provide the best possible environment. This was a parable, so we can assume that this son had it made.  Life was good.  But good isn’t enough.              

Note the expectations of the father that the Prodigal rejected. Maybe he took trips with his father.  Long trips provide the opportunity for long conversations.  Dad probably explained the family business.  He pointed out the landscape, the buildings, the advantages of location, the goodwill of the community and the commitment it took to make it all succeed.  

But, recognize the resistance of the son.  His mind traveled along a different track. He looked at it all as confining, boring, stupid.  He may have resented the pressure to be involved. When decision-making time arrived, the son bolted.  “So, he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:12-13. It is curious that the father seemed to offer zero objections to the impudence of the son.  He allowed him to make up his own mind and follow his own instincts.   

Even with beautiful, smart, talented children, never dismiss the sin factor. Children are not born innocently. They will not automatically make the right choices. And, as they mature, Satan wields a powerful influence upon their fertile and malleable minds. 

So, finally, see the assurance which the Father possessed.  He never gave up hope.  The fact that the Father was in the road looking for his son strongly indicates that he had an assurance that his Prodigal would return. He knew he had taught him the right things. He knew he had been the right example. He knew that he had offered up much prayer and fasting.  His confidence was in the Word of God. 

Keep teaching, keep living the life.  It will win in the end.

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