This is a continuation of a multi-part series of lessons aimed to assist believers who have found themselves out side of the acceptable social and economic circles of our church communities. In order to give them direction through the teaching of parable of the prodigal son. We continue now with the second step on the road to recovery : Resolution.
By following the the story line of the prodigal son in the Gospel record. We have learned some valuable and practical lessons: One: never take the blessings of God on our lives for granted, Two: never squander the gifts that God, our father has bestowed upon each one of us and three: always protect your wealth against any anticipated or unanticipated losses. Now we turn our focus upon the second principle of recovery. Resolution.
Resolution Defined: a resolve or determination: to make a firm an action to do something or the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc. -source Dictionary.com
"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, " - Luke 15:18
The prodigal son makes a resolution, he makes a plan to return home. A resolution is a decision to act upon a plan to correct or to redirect oneself from the way he was once going. The prodigal was not going anywhere, he was in the pig pen, in a foreign land as an employee of a stranger. I give the prodigal son credit to have the strength to make the descision to put away his shame and humbly return to his father's house. Many believers today are stuck in the pig pen of life, subject to the rules of a stranger, because they are too ashamed of what their siblings and Parents would think of them. So there they sit, in the pig pen of their lives, living off the scraps of human existence when all each of them could do is make a plan to get out of the pig pen and return to the place where they had the abundance of their Parents at thier disposal. As demostrated by the prodigal's actions and resolution, the perscriptive actions one must take when in the pig pen of life is the following:
1. Make a plan to leave the pig pen of life
2. Prepare to make a humble return
-plan on repenting to those whom you know you offended when you return.
The return is ineffective without the plan of return. A person must know what direction he must now take in order to make the move to recover. A few things are noticable about the prodigal's plan to recover: He did not ask he employer for any assistance or permission when he left the pig pen. Many people go to the one that is oppressing them for relief and assistance. The reason they are opressing people stuck in the pig pen is so that they would be discouraged from leaving it. Next he did not tell his plan to leave the pig pen to his employer. Understanding that the employer would be upset finding out that the cheap labor he was getting was soon to be gone. Finally he never got comfortable in the pig pen to the point that he was satisfied with it. Many people has gotten too comfortable in their pig pens in life that they look no more to rise from it. The reason why some people do not recover is because they have not tasted a better life than the one they are living in the pig pen.
I had a friend once who did not have a High school diploma, this friend could not find a basic job to provide for his living. So he became content with the under the table jobs that he could do. Sometimes they would pay well and sometimes they would pay nothing at all. This friend of mine would live off of refunds, and financial kickbacks. Flea Markets, yard sales and clearance sales was the limit of his shopping venue. Everything he owned came from one of these sources. He believed in Jesus and was thankful for the little things he could afford. He lived in subsdized housing until the Landlords sold their property to a corporate management group and the rent would get too high for him. He would have to move to another location. He was content to living at this level until he got a taste of the life that was a litte better than his. I took him to a place that was everything he dreamt of and desired. We talked to another one of my friends who lived in that neighborhood and owned his own home. He thought that Christian people was not supposed to live that good, but after we showed him from the scriptures that it was up to him where he lived, that God gave him everything that he needed in Christ to make the journey from one level to another, he changed his mind about his level of living. He began to dream big. He had one major stumblimg block, he had no high school diploma. My friend that lived in that well off neighborhood and I decided to help him study and pay for his GED test. After a few tries he finally recieved a letter from the state issuing him a GED. He was off to the races. He went to school got a skill, soon after that he got a job, he continued his education and graduated from college with a degree, which in turn gave him more opportunity to earn the kind of money he dreamt of. He now lives in his dream house that he owns, makes enough money to support himself and most of all He is still a Christian through it all. Now he helps others to turn their lives around, just as he was helped so that he could turn his life around.
Just like the prodigal son, he realized that he did not have to live in that economic condition. Unlike the prodigal son who was blessed already, he had a road block and all he needed was someone to bless him along the way. He had no High school diploma which is essential to fundamentally succeeding in life. If anyone one suggests to you that obtaining a high school diploma is not neccessary to for you to succeed at life, just remember the testimony I shared with you in this article. I am not saying that God cannot bless you despite you obtaining one, but those examples and testimonies are few and not the way that God has provided for most of us. Here are some of the scriptures that we shared with that friend of mine.
"Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding." - Proverbs 23:23
"..I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly." - John 10:10
"Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."- Proverbs 4:7
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,.."- Ephesians 3:20
These above are just a few of the scriptures my friend and I shared with the Christian friend who was living below his status. Simply put. If one wishes to recover, they have to change whatever they are doing now and do something different. Now in doing something different, requires a change of mind, a change of direction and a change of purpose. The prodigal son changed his mind about living in the mire of the pig pen. He change the direction of his life from wandering in want in a foriegn land to heading back to his father's house. He changed his purpose of living from that living beneath his status in the pig pen to that of living as a servant in his own father's house. All those changes did not come from without the prodigal son, they came from within the prodigal son. This teaches us that all we need to succeed is already within us, if we are willing to change our minds about our present condition, change our direction of each of our lives and change our purpose for living. How do we do this? We do it with education, learning something new that can provide for each one of us a better level of living. One caution however, choose what ever you are going to learn as a trade wisely. Make sure that whatever you choose is always going to be in demand or going to be in demand for a long time. For it is foolish to learn something different and new to make a better life for yourself only to find youself and your new expertise is not any longer needed by anyone. In other words, that people find you newly acquired skills obsolete by the time you graduate.
Here is the lesson: If we change our will and subject it to the obedience of God will, then anything that God wills for us is possible. So the questions are: Does God want us to be blessed? Does God want us to recover? Does God want us to serve him? The answers to these questions are yes, yes and yes. So many of us get stuck on being blessed, but being blessed is just a means to serve the will of God in our lives. This the same test that the young rich ruler failed when Jesus asked him to sell all the wealth that he had acquired from doing the will of God and serve God with Jesus. The wealth possesed the heart of the rich young ruler, not serving God with Jesus which is the will of God for all.