THE SERVANTS HAVE PLENTY Andy Hollifield 9-8-18
Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I can just see the prodigal son, ankle-deep in the contents of a pig pen. A Jewish boy, no doubt raised by a loving father, yet here he was feeding one of the animals determined unclean under the law. He wasn’t just broke and alone, he was almost broken. Whatever self-respect he had left was trodden under foot the day he entered the hog pen. Here he was craving the very food he was feeding those pigs.
This was apparently the first time since leaving, that this young man had given a thought to home. He had sunk to the point of being willing to eat after pigs, forsaken his upbringing, and he wasted a lot more than money with riotous living. He didn’t look much like the son of a rich man now. As a matter of fact, with his filthy, stinking clothes, matted together hair, and scraggly beard, he barely looked human at all. I am not meaning to be overly dramatic but I am just wanting you to realize the condition he was actually in.
Now that we have an idea about the kind of vagrant he had become, think about how his dad must have felt. No doubt, the dad may have went into town to buy more feed for the livestock or something else they needed, and as he was spotted by the town folks, tongues would begin to wag. I am sure that everyone knew that his youngest boy had cashed out his inheritance and taken off into a far country. They may have even heard rumors about his exploits which served to not only bring a reproach upon him but also on his father.
Meanwhile back in the hog pen, this young man is considering the fact that he now has nothing while back at his father’s house, the servants have plenty. Shelter, clothing, food, and anything else that they might have need of. Yet here he was, standing ankle-deep, having finally hit rock bottom and realizing that his only hope lies in the care and provision of his father. Knowing he is unworthy to be considered as a son, the young man at long last turns his face towards home, hoping at the least to be accepted as a servant.
Meanwhile back at home, as the sun begins to set we see a father sitting in his rocking chair staring down the road looking for his long-lost son as he did each day. Not even knowing if he was dead or alive but knowing in spite of all his transgressions, he was still his baby boy. As the father sits still staring and hoping as the twilight begins to fade into darkness, a lone figure appears on the horizon. Straining to see, he notices that this person walks kind of like his boy. As the figure begins to get closer, the father rises from his chair. Could it be, could it really be him after all this time? Coming ever closer, the father raises his hand and waves. The figure waves back and he waves just like his son does. As he comes a few yards closer, the father sees, it is him! He lights off of the porch, skipping all the steps, and runs as fast as he can toward his son. As he gets close to the young man, the boy falls to the ground; prostrate in a submissive posture. At that moment, blinded by his own tears, the father falls on his neck and kisses him and at long last puts his arms around his long-awaited baby boy. He doesn’t even care that he is filthy and smells disgusting from his time in the hog pen.
We know how the story ends. I don’t really know that it happened just this way but that is the picture in my mind. I do know this though; that is exactly how our heavenly Father loves us. Not caring where we have been or what we might have done, he embraces us and loves on us regardless of the stench that the world has left on us. This story is a picture of a wayward son and just as we may have gotten far off from God and sucked in by the allure and deceit of the world and the devil, we can still run back to the Father and submit ourselves to him. Still a son or daughter and not loved a bit less than before we took our journey into that far country away from the Father. We are finally home and all is forgiven and forgotten. The Father celebrates our return to him. Not only are we sons or daughters but willing and grateful to be his servants. And just like it has always been in the Father’s house, the servants have plenty. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!