Wasted - Luke 15:11-16
Today we talk about the idea of “Wasted.” We read in Luke 15:13 KJV that the younger son wasted his substance with riotous living. We may not be guilty of riotous living, but we certainly can be guilty, even as Christ followers, of wasting our substance - of not living up to the kind of glorious life that God had so graciously given us. Who among us would say that they have become all that God has in mind for them? Which of us could not improve in some way or another?
5 Daily Questions:
#1 - ___________ or _____________ ?
“The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.” Luke 15:12 ESV
For the younger son to ask for his share of his inheritance, his portion of the property, while his father was still alive was just like saying, “I wish you were dead.” Especially when you consider that the second word for “property” is different than the first-
βίος -life; (1) of earthly life in its daily functions, (2) the means of subsistence property, goods, one’s living.
For the father to give up some of his “property” would be to give up a substantial portion of his very life, the very means of his subsistence. The younger brother is saying, “I don’t need you any longer... I can get along just fine on my own.” Not Your Way. My way. Even as Christians, we daily find ourselves with this same choice.
“Choose today whom you will serve... As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NLT
It might help us if we realized that the choice of God’s way is actually the best way for us anyway. How many times in your life have you made a choice that in the end turned out not to be the best? God knows!!!
“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 NET
This could be applied to every aspect of our lives - our physical lives, eating, exercising, sleeping, work time, play time. Our emotional lives - our relationships with spouse, kids, parents, not to mention bosses and friends.
#2 - _____________ or ______________ ?
“Not long after that, the younger son packed up all he had. Then he left for a country far away...” Luke 15:13a NIrV
Why did the younger son pack up everything and leave? Because he didn’t want to have Dad watching him, interfering. Guilt slowing him down. Don’t we sometimes do the same thing?. You may think you haven’t moved away from God, but there are probably some parts of your life that you have all “packed up.” Areas of your life you don’t want to acknowledge AND that you don’t want to hear about from God.
To NOT wander means to ABIDE! To be yourself - warts and all - before God. To know His love for you regardless of your failure.
“Abide in me,” / “Live in me.” / “Remain in me,” John 15:4a ESV / MSG / NIV
It means you can be yourself with God. Be real. Authentic. Unpack your dirty linens. Trust God to love you warts and all. We must learn to trust God, to let Him in on your most secret desires, your most guilty pleasures - even those things you think to be wrong. Trust God to heal you in a loving way.
#3 - ______________ or _______________ ?
“... and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Luke 15:13b KJV
This quite literally means he wasted his life, he squandered his subsistence, his living, his bios. One of the greatest and most life-transforming truths we can learn about Christianity is that God didn’t “save” us just to get us into Heaven. He has a plan for us, a purpose. He chose us for that purpose!
“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.” Ephesians 2:10 NCV
Start being a student of how God made you. Learn your SHAPE - Spiritual gifts, Heart passions, Abilities, Personality, Experiences.
We read three things in Ephesians 2:10 that are remarkable:
A. God made me the way I am. I may have corrupted it, but there are some natural aspects of who I am that is God-created.
B. God made me for good works, living out my life doing them.
C. God planned this for me in advance!
#4 - _______________ or _________________ ?
“After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country,
and he had nothing.” Luke 15:14 HCSB
If we get #3 wrong then this one follows naturally. If everything is about immediate gratification, pleasing/obsessing about self then we’ll tend to see our resources in terms of today instead of tomorrow, now instead of forever, temporal instead of eternal. And that equates to emptiness.
Remember the secret of the Parable Of The Talents? Buried or Invested?
“The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’” Luke 19:16 NLT
Temporal = empty (buried). Forever = eternal (invested).
3 Eternal Investments: ________ , __________ , ___________
To know myself best and to become the best me I can be - the me that God intended MEANS I also must know God well. To know Him I must be in His Word (where He reveals Himself) and learning from godly people. To be “invested” instead of “spent” means I must be SET for eternity…
“The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out -
but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:17 MSG
Two sides, two options, two choices. Which describes you more? Wanting wanting wanting or doing what God wants (SET for eternity?)
How do we get SET for eternity?
S _____________ with my God eyes. This is where it starts - with value. Truth is that in our humanness, our mortal, short-term selves, we value the wrong things. We must put on our “God eyes.” To do that we must spend time with Him, read His Word and hang out with His people.
E ________________ to serve. When we hang out with God more, and we start to with His eyes (eternal), it naturally follows that we will see opportunities to serve where we never did before. Expect it! Start each day with “God - what do You have for me today?”
T _____________________ . The Bible is filled with strategic risk takers for God! Abraham went to a foreign land. Moses left the royal family. Elijah confronted King Ahab and Jezebel. Daniel prayed. Peter preached. Paul traveled and taught. Do you think of yourself as a person to be used for God’s glory and purpose?
#5 - _______________ or ________________ ?
“The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:16 NCV
This is the world we live in. Apathetic. Uncaring. But not God the Father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion.” Luke 15:20 ESV
We’ll talk a great deal more about this in 2 weeks, but if we want to be more like God, then we need to be more compassionate.
“You have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate
and merciful.” James 5:11 NRSV
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion.” Colossians 3:12 HCSB
Some of you are more naturally compassionate and merciful. But that doesn’t mean that we, who are not naturally compassionate and merciful, have an excuse. We have God the Holy Spirit living within us. Even if we don’t feel compassionate, we have access to God’s compassion. It is a CHOICE!.
“put on.” We are supposed to put on God’s compassion in the same way we put on clothing. We not naturally dressed. We are naturally naked. We decide, we choose to put on clothing. (Good thing too!) Each day we each have to decide to put on heartfelt compassion. That’s God’s way!