At STEPS Church a few years back, we began exploring the wastefulness of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the message was entitled "The Spirit of the Prodigal" and the beginning text was Luke 15:11-32.
This is a familiar account where we have two sons and a father. One son wants his inheritance early and the other son stays home and is faithful to serve the father. The son that is typically called the prodigal is out wasting his inheritance - he’s turnt up! Something happens however when he soon loses everything and is living in squalor. He realizes that the worst of what his father has is a whole lot better than what he’s experiencing. He remembers he has a good father that would surely allow him to at least get what is allotted to the servants. When he returns home, he is only expecting the minimum but his father receives him like a king would receive a prince. The other son is immediately offended by this display of mercy. He doesn’t even consider that this is his one and only brother who was thought to be dead. His major complaint is that the father never threw him a party.
The reality is that both of these sons are prodigals! They have both wasted tremendous resources! One through squandering and the other by simply neglecting to make his request known! The good father says this in verse 31, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.”
In our case, we have Matthew 7:11 that lets us know that we had a Heavenly Father Who is a giver of good gifts that will outpace any good earthly father! Luke 12:32 further tells us that it is the Heavenly Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Both of these texts deal with asking our Father. We simply do not have because we do not ask God as James tells us (see 4:2). Isn’t it interesting that we always thought there was only one son who was wasteful?
I had a vision several years earlier that actually ignited this teaching. I was sitting in a church service during praise and worship. Now I am typically on my feet during praise and worship but for whatever reason, I was sitting. As I sat there the vision began:
I saw old fashioned measuring hooks coming toward the waist of what looked like a bodice. The bodice is like the trunk of a person and so all I could see was from like the neck to the hips of a woman wearing a wedding gown. The waist was nice and trim and for a moment I thought it was a mannequin, but there was a tiny flicker of movement. I thought, “this is a real person.”
After realizing that, the vision ended and I knew immediately what the Lord was saying. He was saying that He is using an ancient, proven measuring instrument to gauge the wastefulness of the Body of Christ! Like a laser scan, I immediately checked myself to see where I was wasteful. I recognized that I was sitting down during one of the most important times of a worship service! I instantly jumped up to fully engage with the Lord and his people for the power of the corporate blessing.
As the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have THE MOST accessibility to THE MOST VAST resource base in existence...the Holy Spirit and God's Word...what are we doing with them...really? I want to go home to Heaven emptied and to an empty treasury which will mean I will have poured out my entire destiny and used up all the Divine Resources to get the job done. What about you?
Pastor Stine has authored several books, is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Ministry and travels extensively to share at churches and conferences.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture references are taken from the NIV translation