Prodigal Son

Give Me, Make Me” is a four-word outline of the Prodigal Son parable.  You can read the story in Luke 11. It’s the third “lost item” parable in the chapter. Jesus told a story about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son.

“Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me” (Luke 11:12). Picture a father with two adult sons. The Law dictates after the death of the father everything is split. The firstborn son would receive a double share (birthright). In a family with two sons, that means the younger son would receive a third and he wants it now. Does that mean he wants dad dead? Almost.

Give Me” is the humanistic part of the story. The younger son did not have everything he wanted. I can relate. For me to be happy give me:

·       Crisp khakis and a killer shirt/tie combo

·       Vacation at an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas

·       An EHR with a self-populating preventive health module

·       50 members and a church building for Regenerate

·       Happy wife and kids

·       Respect and admiration from my coworkers and patients

You might be assembling a short list in your mind. The concept is that we are unfulfilled because we are missing SOMETHING. Maybe it’s education, opportunity, money, time, health if we had it, we’d be happy.

Our sinful hearts are deceptively wicked: if I had everything on my list, it wouldn’t make me happy. I would want more. Solomon wrote about this in detail in the book of Ecclesiastes. He had access to EVERYTHING under the sun. His conclusion was there was no joy, only an overwhelming pointlessness, vanity, chasing the wind.

Back to Luke 11. The son wanted to travel, to party, to just have a good time.  Until he ran out of money. Hard times came. He ended up pouring coffee for minimum wage at a smelly truck stop, fighting addictions to alcohol and porn, struggling to pay an overpriced rent in an overrated town, lonely every evening and weekend, barely able to afford off-brand hot dogs and beans at Aldi’s.

“Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants”. (Luke 11:18-19)

There is sadness and strange beauty in the release of reaching the end of myself. The problem is not what I don’t have. The problem is ME. I am what is wrong with the world and what is wrong with my life. Slowly, with trepidation, I approach the Father, knowing that I am not worthy to be called His SON, asking him to forgive my sin, give me a new identity, make me what I am not.

And the father comes running! He’s been watching the road EVERY DAY. He wraps his son in the biggest hug. Tears flow. His reaction communicates volumes. The joy is bigger than words!

“This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 11:24)


-Jim Metzler gave this basic concept (Give me, Make me) in his sermon last Sunday in Oakwood, MD. Thanks!