Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hungry Souls

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. We are far too easily pleased."  —C. S. Lewis

The world is brimming with hungry people, starving people. Some need food, physical food, to nourish them. But many need spiritual food. They wander through life seeking fulfillment, turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, money—whatever will give them momentary satisfaction. Many times their actions then cause others pain. Read below the story of the prodigal son. Recognize his discontent and uncover what he found when he came to the end of himself and humbled himself. See how the father runs to him and celebrates his return. Think of the father in the story as our heavenly Father.

And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.  Luke 15:11-24 (NASB)
The world is also teeming with people who are full—of themselves. They wander through life seeking something to make themselves look good like success, material goods, even religion. Some attribute their achievements and gifts to their own abilities and resources. Others are legalistic, attempting to be good by following the rules, then judging those who don’t. Read about the older son in the story of the prodigal son. He thinks because he lived righteously, serving his father for years, he deserves a celebration as well. But the father pleads with him, saying he's always had access to him and his possessions. Again the father in the story is like our heavenly Father.

“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”  Luke 15:25-32 (NASB)
Jesus told another story about a Pharisee who saw himself as righteous and the tax collector who recognized his own sin. The one who knew he was a sinner humbled himself before God and the other “pointed his finger” at the sinner. Read the story below.
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14 (NASB)
Human beings seek pleasure, contentment, and/or achievement in numerous ways. Whether successful or not, we desire gratification. We may be after the trappings of society or aim to obtain notice from those around us. We may strive to be the very best or live with a sense of hopelessness. Whatever it is we’re after, we will forever search for happiness until we discover the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus tried to explain this to the disciples and those that followed Him. Read Jesus’ explanation of who He is and how belief in Him means salvation.  

Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:26-40 (NASB)
God pleads and runs after His hungry people. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that sinners might be saved. We must recognize our need and humble ourselves, asking for the forgiveness of sins against a righteous and holy God. 
Only Jesus, the bread of life, satisfies our hunger. He is the daily bread we need to survive in this world. He is our only source of fulfillment. He is our joy and comfort, our delight and pleasure. When we rely on Him, He fills us with Himself and we are completely assured and at peace.

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