The Hardest Lesson Learned
Isn't it amazing how quickly we can lose our way when we are on our own and think we are following the right path for ourselves?
Jesus tells the story of a son who thought he knew best how to seize the gusto out of life (Luke 15:11-24). This son shames his father telling him he is just as good as dead to him and demands his inheritance so he can follow the path he thinks is best. Off he goes, blowing his fortune, ruining his life, and finding himself in despicable circumstances, with little hope for the future. Then this headstrong, self-willed son comes to an important realization: it's better to be a hired hand in my father's house than to be on my own and away from my father.
Jesus' point is clear. While Satan will do everything he can to make us believe what God asks of us is unfair, capricious, mean, demanding, limiting, joy killing, and ridiculous, what God asks of us is for our blessing and protection. It is better to be a servant in our Father's family than to be on our own and away from the Father.
This realization is the hardest lesson learned. Many of us have to learn it the hard way wasting our influence, our lives, and our time on the pursuit of stuff that does not matter, or worse, contribute to our own destruction and the destruction of others.
The glorious truth about this hardest lesson learned is this: we have a Father who will take us back, bring us home, love us back to health, restore us with his grace as his beloved children, and give us important work to do for his kingdom (Ephesians 2:1-10). Our Father longs to show us that it is better to be a servant in his house than to be on our own and living it up without him. The only difference, and the powerful point of our story, is that once we come to our senses and really get this hardest lesson learned, God doesn't make us hired hands, he brings us home as his beloved children.