My message today is about being a Certain Person. My scripture reference is Luke 15: 11-32. Today’s message will be the first of what will be three messages from this passage of scripture that we typically know as the prodigal son or lost son or the prodigal father.
In Luke 15:11, Jesus says, “Then He said: A certain man had two sons”. Right away we should see something special about this man and this father. Jesus referred to him as “a certain man”. To be “certain” is to be particular, different, or better in some way from things around you that might appear the same. To be certain is to demonstrate qualities of a higher standard than the norm. Any one of us can be any old person, but the challenge for us is to want to be special—to be Certain—in the way this father was. If you don’t think you have it in you to become greater than you are today, don’t worry. Jesus has it in Him to do with you what you cannot do with yourself. All that you need is to have the desire and the will to allow Him to work into you the things you need to work out of you the things that keep you from being a Certain Person. Let me say that a different way. Some troubling behaviors won’t leave us until we work into us the things that will chase our troubles away. If you want to stop being unforgiving, you need to have forgiveness worked into you so it can send unforgiveness running out the door of your life. If you want to be a Certain Person, you need some certain work done in your life. This is the life of a Certain Person.
What can this mean about being a father or a mother? Well, I believe they ought to be Certain Persons. A real father is a particular person, chosen for a particular reason, and who lives in a particular way that is distinctive from every other father. Our Heavenly Father is that example to believers. Certain Persons create things that are distinctive and good. As we will see again later in this scripture series, Certain Persons are amazingly different people who bring about amazingly different things in the lives of the people around them. Certain Persons make the people around them certain. You see, the value of your life is the value of Jesus’ life. He bought you with His life so in many ways your life is as valuable as His life is. So, what about you? Are you a Certain Person looking to bring certain favors into the lives of others, or are you one of the others who is looking for a Certain Person to bring favor into your life? If you want to change the lives of the people around you, develop certain things about you that are sure to change certain things about others.
Now remember there were two sons. Luke 15:12-13 says, “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” What have we here between the father and this younger son? Well, a Certain Person will live in such a way that he provides for his children; this father obviously did that. But more than provision, a Certain Person will live in such a way to raise children who will themselves demonstrate Certain Person qualities. The younger son’s request for his inheritance was the indication of the character of a worldly man. But the father was a Certain Person who did things in a certain way so the younger son would eventually come to demonstrate better qualities.
What specifically did the father do? The father obliged his son and gave him the portion of his livelihood that would in time fall to the son. Some of us would be quick to note that perhaps the father should not have given the son anything since he knew it would be wasted. The word prodigal means wasteful. To be sure, I believe the father recognized the son’s wasteful, self-centered, uncaring, entitlement and worldly nature. But the father didn’t just give the son his treasures—things that could be wasted. Giving his son what he wanted opened the door for the father to give him something he needed but didn’t see that he needed. In addition to treasures, the father gave him something that could not be wasted. The father gave his son something that would later help him want to live differently. Those of us who see carnally would think that it cost the father his hard-earned worth. But his worth did not and could not change his son. No, the father worked into his actions love, selflessness, generosity, honor, humility, a sense of value and the love of God. These would all be things the son would later need to root out of himself the things that were holding him back.
Sure, we ought to give others material help when we believe it will help them. But when we are Certain People, we will give or withhold in ways that sow the seeds of the life changing qualities. Certain People do certain things in certain ways to produce certain results in the lives of those we want to become Certain People.
The younger son wanted what he thought was going to be rightfully his; he wanted his future, and he wanted it today. Sometimes we live like this younger son. We want to reach out into our tomorrows and waste away what we find today. That only makes our tomorrows harder than they would have been. But the father gave to his son something that is present today to make his tomorrow better. He gave his son something that could never be consumed entirety. He gave him something would be producing and reproducing. He gave him freedom—freeing qualities that would help him find and live freely in his today and in his future. He gave his son honor when dishonor was present; he gave his son selflessness when selfishness dominated; he gave his son forgiveness before the son knew forgiveness would be needed.
So, what about us? Do we try to teach or our children (or others in our power) by withholding from them the things we have worked hard to attain? Do we want them to learn to make it on their own? Do we believe this is best for them? Do we believe it is bad to give them all that they want from us? Listen, it is not a bad thing to be prudent about what we give or to withhold from our kids (or others). But it is more important that we learn not to withhold the things others need to break themselves free. Our natural natures will offer the help of not helping. But a Certain Person will use the request for help to sow the seeds of the character of a Certain Person. A Certain Person will gladly help in one way so that he can help in the most important way: sowing the seeds of freedom into the lives of others so that they can learn to depend on something greater than themselves to make it in a world that tells them they can only make it by depending on themselves.
I am sure we all have some prodigal living in us. I know that I do. But each time we stumble across some of that prodigal nature, we should look more deeply within ourselves to see if we find the Certain Person quality that will root that prodigal nature right out of our lives. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.