He Got What He Wanted, But He Lost What He Had
Some stories just never get old. The story of the prodigal son is one of those stories. The longer I live, the more I see the principles and truths evidenced in this classic parable. One of the most remarkable lessons is that the prodigal son got what he thought he wanted, but he lost what he had in the process. It wasn’t until the end of the road “when he came to himself” that he realized how much better his life was in his father’s house.
Here are a few simple observations about the prodigal son.
1) He got a party, but he lost his purity.
The prodigal son must have thought that life was boring in his father’s house. Perhaps he saw the young people around him and figured that they were the only ones having any fun. However, the prodigal son found out the hard way that the party is not free; the party cost him his purity. Much like Esau, the prodigal son gave up so much for so little.
In Daniel 5, we see the account of Belshazzar who threw a party and defiled the holy things from the Temple in Jerusalem. When Belshazzar witnessed the handwriting on the wall, his party came to a crashing halt. Belshazzar experienced the judgment of God that same night.
You can live the “party life” of sin, but it will cost you so much more than you ever dreamed.
2) He got his fun, but he lost his future.
God’s Word tells us that there is pleasure in sin, but that pleasure lasts only for a season. Someone has wisely stated that you never want to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate. The prodigal son wasted his inheritance with his riotous living. He had a good time, but he ruined his future in the process.
3) He got his treasure, but he lost his testimony.
“Give me.” This statement came from a selfish, self-centered young man who did not care about anyone but himself. He wanted it, and he wanted it now.
The goal for the Christian is not to have our treasure now, but rather to lay up treasures in Heaven. The treasures of this world will quickly disappear, but the rewards of a godly, Christian life are eternal. “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing” (Proverbs 10:2).
God is looking for Christian young people who will be “righteous” not “riotous.” A righteous man is controlled by the Spirit, but a riotous man is controlled by the flesh.
4) He got his way, but he lost his worth.
Truly the prodigal son got what he wanted, but he lost what he had. He never realized that, even after getting his way, he would be miserable. This young man found himself in the pigpen eating with the swine. “The way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15).
“You can choose the way that you take, but you cannot choose the end of that way.”
5) He got his riches, but he lost his relationships.
We’ve all heard the statement, “There are some things that money cannot buy.” The prodigal son found this to be true. After wasting all of his riches, he found himself alone. At home, he had a father and brother who loved him, but in his greed he severed the most important relationships in his life.
Determine today not to lose what you have in order to gain what you think you want.