The riches of our Father…
America, as a whole, is by far the most prosperous people that have ever existed. The amount of money, stuff, comfort, and security is borderline absurd compared to the rest of the world throughout history. We take this for granted, because it is all we know.
These gifts are not because we have necessarily earned them, but because God has graciously provided. He has given us protection, wisdom, resources, you name it. Job said it best, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Our Creator has provided abundantly to each and everyone one of us.
The squandering of the gift…
Having said this, we squander the gifts. The book of James tells that we use God’s gifts to spend it on our own passions. The truth is that we are a nation of prodigal sons. We want our dad’s money; however we want to spend it on our own terms. We want to live independent of his authority, and God allows us to do so.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! “ – Romans 1:24-25
For many, this independence is seen as freedom, but it is not. It is actually a prison. For instead of being dependent on an all satisfying God, we become dependent on things that perish. Our joy is tied to stuff, versus our joy being tied to the Source of Joy.
For the Prodigal Son, when his god (his dad’s inheritance) ran out, he was left with nothing. He found himself desperate, alone, and longing to eat the food of the pigs. He had squandered the gift of his father. This will inevitably happen to each of us. Whether it is on our death bed, or earlier, the dust of this world will slip through our fingers. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way.
But when he came to himself…
In the midst of his brokenness, the Prodigal Son had a revelation, “Why trust in the gift, when you could trust in the Gift Giver?” (My paraphrase). So this is what he did. He returned to his Father. Likewise, this is what we need, a revelation. We need see this world for what it is, fleeting. We need to recognize that this is not our home. We need to repent of our rebellion and ask for our Father’s forgiveness for worshiping His stuff and not Him. We need to head home, where the Father watches and rejoices upon our return. “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'" – Luke 15:32
Perhaps as you read this, you are feeling the tug of God drawing you home. Perhaps you have been reflecting upon the unsatisfying pursuit of earthly pleasures. Perhaps your soul is hungry for more. Perhaps you desire to reconcile with your Creator. If so, know that the journey to Dad is only achieved through Jesus Christ. He is the only way to the Gift Giver.
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
So today, arise and place your feet upon the narrow way of Jesus Christ and find what your heart aches for. He is the path of life, and is the Fountainhead of overflowing joy and eternal pleasures.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11