Podcast Transcript.  To listen to the audio version click HERE

Have you ever had one of those moments where you reach the pinnacle of doing something you enjoy doing?

You won the game. You experienced the pleasure. Your dreams really did come true. And then simultaneously realized that it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be? 

It didn’t fill the emptiness and now what? 

What do I do now that I know I will never reach a higher moment than I have just experienced?  

I can remember one such experience in my own life in my early twenties.  You see in my college years I didn’t worship in a church like I had in my youth.  I worshiped in a club or a bar.  My religion was hedonism and I had given myself completely to it in every aspect of my life I knew how.  But now was the moment of truth.  Now I had just mixed the right cocktail of chemicals in my body and I was experiencing the highest high in all my years of partying.  And the moment it happened, I knew it.  Something within me cried out “is this it?”  I couldn’t hold it in, so I blurted out to my friends that I had peaked, that I had maxed out, that everything after this was just going to be downhill.  And I was right.  I had reached the top of the stairway to heaven and now there was no place to go but down.  And down I went.  Why?  I had no answers.  I knew nothing else that could bring happiness to my life, so I accepted the ever diminishing returns of pleasure seeking.

It is interesting because in the Bible Jesus tells a similar story of a prodigal son who when he had come of age asked his father for his inheritance and soon there after departed to a far away country.  The son finally had everything he had always wanted:  Money, Freedom, Anonymity.  No one knew who he or his father was and he could live however he pleased.  So, of course he lived to please himself.  

Sometime afterward the story tells us he squandered his fortune all away in reckless living.  Once again we see the principle that once you get everything you want in life there is no place to go but down. Then, right when he was in his greatest poverty, a famine came into the land that only made matters worse.  He then became so desperate for food that he took a job on a farm feeding pigs, but even then he found no relief.  No money. No food. No rest.

The only thing he had was the burden of shame, regret, and guilt for what he had done

But then something unexpected happened. As he was sitting with the pigs longing for the food they were eating and finding no satisfaction with his life whatsoever, he had a revelation. he saw something in his mind. The Scriptures say that “he came to himself.”  It was almost like he was starting to remember again. He had been living in the moment for so long that he had in essence forgotten his past, forgotten he was the son of a father who loved him.

But now everything was clear, not like before.  Perhaps he could go home and work for his father as a servant.  Surely he had disqualified himself from being his son, but at least in his fathers house he could eat. 

So he arose and went to his Father…

Maybe you can relate. That moment when you woke up out of a dream and cried out, “what have I become?” as you realized that what you thought would give you life was in fact the very thing stealing it away from you, bit by bit, until there wasn’t much left of you anymore.

I know for me it happened at a New Years Eve party. At some point in the hours after midnight I had a revelation of the Jesus Christ while being surrounded by a room full people who were trying to get high; trying to stay high. Then all of a sudden everyone in the room fell down and it was just me standing before Jesus himself as he came down out of the sky and I knew I was lost and it terrified me.  But then after a few seconds, I realized what had happened and my fear was turned to sorrow.  For I then realized with an intensity I will never forget that I was a child of God of love and he was calling me home.  And home I went both literally and figuratively not knowing what to expect  all the while wondering what use God could have of someone as broken and messed up as me.

What should we expect when we come home?

You see many of us have this idea in our mind that God is trying to scare us when the Bible describes the fate of the wicked.  It’s as if we believe God is using the threat of suffering and eternal death to manipulate us when in fact he is just trying to save us! 

There is a proverb in the Bible that reads –

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12 ESV)

You see the issue is not that God is trying to warn us that the way we have chosen is leading us to death. The issue is believing that he is telling us the truth.  Intrinsically we know this, but our pride too often prevents us from turning around and going home.  But if we humble ourselves we may just discover something unexpected on the road home.

 So how was the prodigal received by his Father on his way home?

In the prodigal’s mind he knew he did not even deserve to be acknowledged, but to his great surprise he discovered his Father was actively waiting for him to return, looking for the slightest clue his son might be coming home again. And when he saw him coming a great way off, he ran to embrace him.

As the son confessed his sin to his Father before he could even finish speaking his Father commanded his servants:

“ ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22–24 ESV)

The prodigal was restored into his father’s house again not as a servant, but as a son.  Why?  Because before the prodigal had chosen his Father his father had already chosen him.  No one could replace his son while he was gone and there was no way he was going to be denied of his presence when he returned.  His life was wrapped up in his son 

The story of the Father’s love for his prodigal son is the story of God’s love for us.  Before we chose him he chose us.  Even after we rejected him for who we thought he was he has always accepted us as we really are.

You have been chosen!  

Chosen for what you ask?  Well that is the fun part we get to figure out together on this podcast!

I don’t know what’s driving you.  It could be “more:” more degrees, more accolades, more notoriety, more followers, more power

or maybe it’s “better:”  better relationships, better skills, better performance, better technique, better strategy

Let me assure you that there is nothing you can achieve for yourself in this world that will ever bring complete satisfy your quest for the meaning of life.  I have a feeling your intuition agrees with me but even so – I want you to take a moment to meditate on these words of Jesus.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:25–27 ESV)

What is the meaning of life according to Jesus?  Pretty simple really.

To find our life in God and not ourselves.  Life doesn’t come from us  it comes from him!  Only life can satisfy life.

Thus, even if we have won the game of life according to the wisdom of the world and all we gain is death in the end then what have we really gained?

God wants us to know there is a day of reckoning coming. Jesus is coming in the clouds with the glory of his father and all the heavenly host

Are you ready for Jesus?

Don’t let the world convince you he isn’t coming.

There is no better time to come home then now.

Be ready for Jesus.

As the scriptures say:

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV)

Even so – amen