What do you base your identity on? Your job? Your spouse–or lack thereof? Your public image?
If so, you are in for a big disappointment.
Lately those things which I have been counting on, to bring my life meaning, have not been living up to the expectations I put on them.
Is this a bad thing to happen? No, but it does bring disappointment.
It’s always easier, in the short term, to worship idols. We all know the idols will let us down, and that we will have to seek new idols. But, that isn’t usually a problem, since our world is doing a great job at creating new and better idols for us each day.
How easy it would be, at this point, to escape disappointment by burying myself in entertainment and fantasy worlds created by books, television, and the internet.
How easy it would be to seek new idols to which I can lean my identity onto afresh.
But, how much more time am I willing to waste doing that?
In the parable of The Lost Son we see a picture of two sons who rest their identities on their father’s things (wealth, power, and status), rather than the father himself.
The younger son basically says: “Father I’m tired of waiting for you to die! Just give me your stuff now, and I’ll be on my way!”
The older brother says: “Father I have served you patiently while waiting for you to die. No I will not celebrate the return of your son, because with him back in the family he’s just going to use up the stuff that was promised to me, since he’s already squandered his own inheritance.”
Both sons were guilty of loving the father’s things over the father himself.
The younger brother finds salvation when he realizes that his life was only worth anything when he was with his father–when he realized his identity was in his father, not his father’s things (however good those things might have been).
The older brother remains lost in his rejection of the father’s heart.
It is an act of mercy and grace when God strips away anything in one’s life that is loved more than God Himself.
If you want to listen to a really great sermon series on the parable of “The Lost Son” click here. There are seven sermons–the first is about the “Lost Sheep”, and the remaining six are about the “The Lost Son”. I highly recommend listening to all of them!
(If you want to see some cute pictures of my son Noah–click here…)