Session 2: Abundance Is Not the Goal

“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.”

– Luke 15:11-22 ESV


The prodigal son in Luke 15 enjoys a life of abundance, and he knows half of a sizeable inheritance is coming his way. The fact that he has an estate to inherit shows his family is wealthy. But waiting on half of the estate isn’t good enough. He has to have it now.

In my mind, I can just see the prodigal son working in his father’s field. He’s drenched in sweat and has a cramp in his back. He’s filthy. He’s parched. He lifts his head to feel a cool breeze and notices that none of the laborers in the next field is working. Everyone is milling around, drinking cold water, and eating fruit. It’s almost his break time, too, but everything looks better over there, and they’re only hired workers…

If I’m a son and all this is really mine, why do I have to do all of this hard work? It would be so freeing to have my inheritance now. That’s what I want. I want what is rightfully mine, and I want it now.

That’s the lie the son fell for, and that’s the lie we’ve all fallen for. We want it all, and we want it now.

The son wants his share of the inheritance without submitting to the authority that would be in place until his father dies. In other words, when he asked his dad for his inheritance, he communicated, “I wish you were dead.”


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So the prodigal son runs. Life is good at first, but he soon squanders all his possessions on wanton living. He discovers that the boundaries and the life that his father had given him were as good as it gets. Back home, he had everything he ever needed—only to assume he was missing out on something better. When you drill down into his motives, he wanted freedom. Freedom is a code word for control. The prodigal son wanted the reins of his own existence.

Too often we want what comes along with God but we don’t really want God. We want the peace and comfort and joy. But, more than anything, we want control. The way we live shows we don’t want God to control our lives, and yet we still have the audacity to wonder, “How can I get all of that peace stuff too?”

The giant lie at the end of all of our own plans is that they’re still not going to take us far enough to satisfy. Usually when we’re running from God, the end game is not in mind. The now is in mind.

When you’re running from God, you’ll still have quiet moments. God is right there in those quiet moments, still reaching out to you. Have you ever noticed that when you’re running from God you’ll change the radio station away from the Christian song that is speaking to you or the sermon that is convicting you? The most miserable person on Earth is a believer trying to run from God. Whatever you’re trying to do to run away from him, you can’t keep the noise loud enough to drown him out. He won’t let you—because you’re his, no matter how much you want to try to be your own.

We’ll paint over the truth to avoiding facing it. We’ll paint it as judgment to get away from it. We’ll paint it as a “worldview” so we can rationalize it away. We’ll paint it as hate speech. We’ll paint it as anything we can imagine to avoid dealing with it. That’s why we believers must be in God’s Word for ourselves. Whatever someone else may say to us, we can figure out a way to discount it. But when we’re alone and the room gets quiet, we know. Deep down, we know we can’t discount God’s truth.

Many of us have run hard enough and far enough that we thought we could never come back home. We’ve told ourselves, “God is gonna be finished with me.”

We can never forget that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39). His love is always there. It’s there right now. If you recognize that still, small voice persistently calling out to you, it’s proof that God is with you right now. His love is inescapable, and it always calls out to us when we go our own way…

It’s time to stop running now. You don’t need to have it all figured out. You just need to come home.


Discussion Questions

Can you remember a time when you wanted the “stuff” of God more than you wanted God himself? What were the results of your actions, how did you respond, and how did you grow from the experience?

In what ways does your current walk with the Lord reflect a self-centered attitude? Are you counting on anything or anyone other than God to satisfy you? Have you wondered from your spiritual home? How would the Lord have you respond?

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    B P
    B P
    November 11, 2020 9:42 am

    For too long I fooled myself into thinking I had a great relationship with God, but I had way too many idols. I thought I was doing his will…enough. But he relentlessly pursued, He found me in my wandering, and brought me closer. He brought me to a point where I could only rely on Him, so I would rely on Him. It’s still a struggle, but I keep trying to give it all to Him.

    Kenny Wayne
    November 13, 2020 6:15 am

    I felt like I had let God down. I had served as a worship pastor and was chased away when my past was discovered. My past that led me to God when I was on the floor crying out ‘why can’t I just have somebody love me?’ He answered me. I wasn’t a Christian, but God was there with me, and I could feel Him. It changed my life and made me want to serve. When you serve you become a target. So my past was revealed and I was hurt tremendously and I ran. I still had faith, and… Read more »

    Calpal
    Calpal
    November 11, 2020 7:31 am

    WOW!What a new view of this story I now have. I can see in my own life the many times I have been this son (and sometimes still am). Thank you God for always reaching and pursuing me and bringing me back to you. I know I am so unworthy of such grand love but am so thankful you give it so freely. Your grace and your mercy are boundless. I pray to stay close to you Oh my Lord.

    Eden Robinson-Robertson
    Eden Robinson-Robertson
    November 11, 2020 10:53 am

    Thank you Mr. Mark for the great message! It’s always wonderful to hear God’s word through you.

    Pat Ames
    Pat Ames
    November 11, 2020 9:52 am

    Great message See this story in a different way. No matter how many times you have heard the same story / message you can always learn something new

    John
    John
    November 11, 2020 3:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this bible study Way FM and Mark Hall. I look forward to your daily conversations, well done!

    Jeri
    Jeri
    November 11, 2020 6:03 am

    SO good! Thank you for this message.

    Ann Marie
    Ann Marie
    November 11, 2020 7:58 pm

    I have heard sermons on this bible passage many times, but this was fresh perspective…thank you! I love that God always finds new ways to speak to us through others.

    Angelle
    Angelle
    November 12, 2020 7:40 am

    Thanks for the uplifting message!

    Last edited 5 months ago by Angelle
    Angelle
    Angelle
    November 12, 2020 7:41 am

    Thanks for reminding me that, “love moves first” and that I don’t have to wait to be thirsty in order to drink water, figuratively speaking! Thank God for always drawing us to Himself, because He loves us so much!!! God bless you, sir, for this amazing message. May God’s presence continue to abide with you (us) in Jesus name, amen!

    Last edited 5 months ago by Angelle
    Bev Sack
    Bev Sack
    November 12, 2020 8:26 am

    Mark, you have a gift from God. Speaking from the Word is healing and so comforting. The truth needs to be heard. So tonight I’m meeting with my recovery group of ladies. I will be sharing your message. So I want you to know you are reaching many souls out here!!! God Bless You, Mark, for your perseverance and passion for teaching the word. Sincerely, Bev

    Donna
    Donna
    November 13, 2020 6:05 am

    Thank you so much Mark for your time, your devotion to God and for sharing…

    Christy
    Christy
    November 13, 2020 12:02 pm

    Loved this! How can I forward it in a text?

    Kim cruz
    November 13, 2020 12:56 pm

    I just love the way you explain it and apply it to us today I’m having a hard time getting back to where I need to be ..you said it soo well I get it! Thank you soo much GOD BLESS YOU…P.S. I can feel your Joy and see it!👍🙌

    Mary
    Mary
    November 15, 2020 9:04 am

    How we long for that “freedom”…. The control over the uncontrollable. And having those discussions with God – those suggestions of how He could take care of it all. Its coming to realize that I too often focus on the gift and not the Giver. yes, He gives the peace that passes understanding, but often it’s in the middle of the storm. And I have no need to figure out the storm. My area of control is self.

    Pat Davis
    Pat Davis
    November 16, 2020 5:46 am

    I do love how you can read the bible, same verses and it hit you differently over the years. In this particular story I have been the prodigal, the older brother and the parent. God’s word is ALIVE and ACTIVE! Thanks for putting this together. Loving the content.

    Last edited 5 months ago by Pat Davis
    Dee
    Dee
    November 16, 2020 10:52 am

    Wow. This one hit me hard. Lately it’s been all about mememe. That’s not what our Father wants. My mom had thousands ( or so it seemed at the time) of wisdom sayings. “ Don’t throw rocks at glass houses”, and so on.
    I will now read my Bible and put me in place of the Galatians, and Romans etc….
    Thanks Mark. 💗

    Letty
    Letty
    November 16, 2020 12:03 pm

    Thinking I had ALL I needed was not nearly close to what I needed. God never left me & I knew it, I just pushed him away. But I’m where I belong, in his arms. Trying to do his will & not my own.

    C.J. Driskell
    C.J. Driskell
    November 16, 2020 1:41 pm

    This was so good and resognated with what I experienced 1 year ago. I accepted Christ as my savior when I was 10 years old. Fast forward 43 years later, I found myself questioning my faith after many painful life experiences that left me numb, devastated and deeply depressed. I had all but given up and my soul was miserable, restless and exhausted. I told God, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t understand why all of this is happening! Where are you? Why can’t I feel you? I told God if he did not help me I was done.… Read more »

    Deana Strickland
    Deana Strickland
    November 18, 2020 6:04 am

    Thank you

    Kim
    Kim
    November 18, 2020 7:11 am

    LOVE the thirsty picture. It’s your body telling you there’s a problem when you are thirsty. Go to the water all the time.

    Lisa
    Lisa
    November 18, 2020 9:09 pm

    Interesting in today’s questions, I never really thought of being self centered but today I realized I have been. I have struggled with rejection. After numerous failed relationships. I stopped praying and believing that God would provide. So I turned off my hope and gave up asking God for anything. I decided to self protect, stop hoping so I could control being rejected. I gave up no slowly even lost y intimate relationship with God. I played it safe and only asked or communicate with God in areas that were safe from being rejected. I guarded myself and kept people… Read more »

    KIMBERLY M FOX
    KIMBERLY M FOX
    November 27, 2020 7:10 am

    This is my second time watching. Thank you. I have struggled with life. I lost my mom in 2016, my daughter in 2017, my sister in 2019 and my brother in 2020. I am all that’s left of my immediate family. I have 2 other children. I have health problems. I have worked for so long to be like the other Christian’s that I know and love. Yet I am learning that God wants me to be me. Wants me to be my own Christian. I don’t understand so much in the bible but I am trying so hard to… Read more »

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