He'll Be THere When You Get Back
And No Man Gave Unto Him
Luke 15: 11-20,
And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 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 will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
At what age does a young man begin to smell himself? At what age are our sons when they begin to feel that they're ready to grab this thing that we call life, by the horns, and ride without falling off?
It was the summer leading up to my senior year in high school. I worked on a construction job with my father, and I was paid pretty good for those times. I decided that I would save some money so that when school started that September, I would be able to buy some of the latest fashions that the students would be wearing. Then right out of the blue, while out with friends joy-riding one week-end, I saw a fire engine red, 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 sitting on the lot of a used car dealership. That car grabbed my attention immediately, and held me in awe. After asking my friend to circle the block and pull over at the dealership, I got out to have a look at that car. As beautiful as it was on the outside, the interior was equally well kept. Everything was a hot red, with black and chrome trim on the dash, and black piping around the edges of the bucket seats. I was really blown away when I opened the hood and saw this great big 390 engine. I had to have that car. I went to talk with my dad, hoping that he would reason with me, and help me to get that car.
My dad made me promise to use the money I had saved as a down payment, and to make payments on that car every two weeks, instead of once a month, since I would only be working full time for the remainder of the summer. Reluctantly, and after my continued pleading, dad finally agreed to sign for me to have that car. I continued working with my father, and every evening I found waiting to get home harder and harder. I knew my shiny red car would be there, sitting in the driveway, waiting for me to get home. But what I started to realize, after dad pointed it out of course, was that my friends would be there waiting for me also.
Dad warned me that my friends were only there with me and hanging tight, because they could ride with me where ever I would go, and that if I had trouble, they would leave me. I could never view my friends in that light, and I wouldn't believe that my dad knew what he was saying to be true. So every evening upon arriving home, I would shower, change clothes, grab a bite to eat, and my friends and I would be off. When school started in September, I was hired on a part-time after school job, which helped me to keep gas money, and a little party cash. My friends and I made all the rounds, we attended every party that we knew about, we visited girls in neighboring communities, and we rode around having fun in my shiny red car.
Nearing the spring of that year, I was let go from my job, and about that time my brother moved back home from Chicago. Since he didn't have a car, I felt it a good brotherly thing to share my shiny red Ford with him until he found a car of his own. My brother was a few years older than I, so he enjoyed the benefits and privilege of being able to stay out late, and to have a drink. It became that whenever I was not in the car, my brother would have it and be gone. Dad kept warning me about my friends, but we were having so much fun, and I felt that they would have my back through any situation.
Suffice it to say, with both my brother and I using the car, maintenance and up-keep was being neglected, and we got a call one night for dad to come and help him, the car had stopped on the expressway. When dad returned home, he told me that the engine in my shiny red car had locked up, it would have to be replaced.
To say that I was broken-hearted would be putting it mildly. By now it was nearing time for graduation, and the summer was almost upon me. Now I found myself without a job, without my shiny red car, and without my friends. What dad told me, had come to pass. Knowing that I didn't have a car, my friends no longer came around, and I was left sitting on our front porch, watching as other guys passed by, enjoying their rides and the warm summer evenings.
I was stuck at home many of those summer nights, and no man gave me anything.
I Learned My Lesson
Dad watched me, moping around the house, alone and dejected for most of that summer, but he never said, " I Told You So." Finally, after almost losing my mind from boredom, I broke down and went to have a talk with my dad. I promised Dad that if he would get my car fixed, not only would I repay him, I would keep his car washed and clean, and I would from that day forth be doing most of my riding alone.
It seems that was all dad wanted to hear, he just wanted to know that I would not allow people to use me, and benefit from what I had. Dad forgave me for not listening to and following his advice, and about a week later, I was back, riding in my shiny red Ford.
Just like the Father in the parable told by Jesus, my dad was there for me when I came to myself.
Two things really stood out for me in this parable. (1.) The young man finally did come to himself. (2.) The Father was there waiting for him to return.
Many times we are drawn away from our morals and up-bringing. Lured into a world where we believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Many times, especially as young men, we feel that we must make our own mark in the world. The problem is, we are large enough, and strong enough, and sometimes old enough, but often times, we are not mature enough. And we find ourselves tangled in a life of sin and degradation, and chewed up by a society that never had love for us.
But it is good to know, that our Father will be there when we get back. He forgives our sins and trespasses, and restores us back into Sonship.
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