Posted by Peter Thompson

Luke 15:11-32

Being a Father is Hard

INTRODUCTION:  There are a lot of men that call themselves fathers in our world.  Some actually know what that means and some do not.  Being a father is something that God calls upon men to do.  It is a very hard task.  Of course, God our father is the ultimate example for us.  In this passage Jesus is telling a parable about a father and his two sons.  The Pharisees were bickering with Jesus about eating with sinners and Jesus told this parable to illustrate to them that He was looking to forgive these people and bring them into His family.  But in this story we find a father that represents God.  So the things this father does are the things God would do in the same situation.  In order to be a good father there were some really hard things that this man had to do.  Fathers, let’s look at the hard things that you must do to be the kind of father that God would have you to be.

  1. WORK HARD FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN (VS. 11-12)
  2. Jesus jumps right into the story
  3. There are two sons
  4. The younger of the two sons asks something of his father
  5. Now this request is very disrespectful in the Jewish culture
  6. And quite frankly, I would consider it disrespectful now in our culture
  7. The request is that the father give him his portion of his inheritance now
  8. The dad is not dead, but the boy is impatient and asks for his inheritance
  9. But what I want you to see here is that this father is fully prepared to give the inheritance now
  10. He has been working hard all of his life to provide a future for his children
  11. He has their portions and he is ready to give it to them
  12. Although this was a disrespectful request-the father loves his children and wants to provide for them
  13. If they are going to leave his house, then he wants them to have what they need
  14. And he has done what he has had to all of his life to make sure he was able to do that
  15. So he divided up the inheritance and gave it to them
  16. Here is the mentality of most men that I know
  17. We don’t believe anybody deserves anything for free
  18. Men shouldn’t give hand outs and shouldn’t ask for hand outs
  19. And certainly the Bible teaches that men should work for food and the necessities of life
  20. You should not cottle your children after they leave home and make sure they have all that they need or want
  21. That is not what this father did
  22. But you should have a desire to put your children on the best footing that you can
  23. You should work hard in your life so that your children will not have to struggle while they get on their feet
  24. Now I know that sometimes a person’s financial status cannot be helped
  25. I know that sometimes there is not anything left to stack up for the kids
  26. But we as fathers should do everything that we can to help our children to have a bright future
  27. Because you love them, because God has given them to you as your responsibility
  28. WORK HARD TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR HOUSEHOLD (VS. 13-19)
  29. So the young man goes out after he receives his half of the inheritance
  30. Jesus says the young man wasted all of it on riotous living
  31. That is partying and drinking and carousing with no concern for how it affects the person doing it or the people around them
  32. This young man made lots of friends and spent his money on their riotous living
  33. When he ran out of money and there was nobody left to help him
  34. He ended up feeding pigs
  35. A drought came and he didn’t have enough money for food
  36. Jesus graphically describes his condition when he says, “…he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”
  37. This man was so hungry, he was ready to eat the pig food
  38. But look what he says when he finds himself in that condition in v. 17-18 (read again)
  39. He starts thinking about his dad’s house
  40. He says everybody gets to eat there
  41. The sons the servants, everybody
  42. And they usually have some left over
  43. I’ll go back there and ask to be a servant, that would be better than starving with the pigs
  44. You see, this father provided for his household
  45. He made sure that everybody in his household had plenty to eat
  46. And I would imagine a roof over their heads
  47. And I would imagine everything that they needed
  48. Fathers, it is important that you provide for the people of your household
  49. Don’t be that father that just does whatever he can get away with for his kids
  50. Take care of the kids that you brought into the world
  51. Take care of your wife
  52. Make sure that everybody in your household has plenty
  53. Sometimes that is going to be really hard
  54. But it is the responsibility that God has given you
  55. HAVE COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR YOUR CHILDREN EVEN WHEN IT IS HARD (V. 20)
  1. Now let’s think about what this boy did to his father
  2. He said, your house is not good enough for me anymore
  3. He said, give me what you owe me dad
  4. He packed up his things and went and wasted all of his father’s money on partying
  5. This father could have and some may say should have been very angry with his son
  6. He could have disowned him
  7. If he wanted to be out on his own, then I guess he could just keep on doing it on his own
  8. The boy only came back because he didn’t have anything to eat, not because of any love for his father
  9. But look at what the father did
  10. He sees his boy coming from far away
  11. He doesn’t sit down on the porch and wait
  12. He doesn’t get servants to go send the boy away
  13. He doesn’t prepare and mean speech
  14. The Bible says he ran to meet him and hugged him and kissed him
  15. Because he had compassion on him
  16. He loved that boy no matter what he had done
  17. His love was unconditional, he was proud and happy to see his son who had been away
  18. God would have you to have that kind of love for your children
  19. In fact, that is how God treats you
  20. You keep doing things that offend him every day in your life, and your heavenly father keeps loving you anyway
  21. God would have you to unconditionally love your children
  22. No matter what they do, they are your children
  23. You are not to disown them
  24. You are not to stop talking to them
  25. You are to love your children and be ready to help them always
  26. There should always be a place at home for your children
  27. DO THE HARD THING AND FORGIVE YOUR CHILDREN WHEN THEY FAIL YOU (VS. 21-24)
  28. This dad did not stop with just a hug and a kiss
  29. The boy gave the speech that he had prepared
  30. Dad, I’m not worthy to be your son anymore, make me your servant so that I can live with you
  31. Boy, that is better than this kid deserved
  32. But dad said, bring the best robe and put it on my son
  33. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet
  34. The ring was about being a son and heir to the father
  35. He completely restored this boy as his son
  36. He completely put this boy under his protection and provision again
  37. He completely forgave and threw a party to celebrate
  38. Forgiveness is deeper than what most people want to take it
  39. We say, I’ll forgive but I will never forget or trust that person again
  40. That is not real forgiveness
  41. Real forgiveness like God shows is the restoring completely of the prior relationship
  42. So whatever you were to that person before the falling out
  43. That is what you are to them again
  44. In this case, the boy was a son, and when the father forgave, he took him back as a son with all the rights and privileges
  45. If someone was your friend that you hung out with all the time, and you forgive them then you hang out with them all the time again
  46. You have not really forgiven until you are willing to restore them back to their former place
  47. Fathers, your children are going to do some things that make you mad
  48. They are going to do those things while they live in your house
  49. They are going to do those things when they grow up and move out
  50. You will have fights with your children
  51. There will be words said that are disrespectful and ungrateful
  52. Sometimes they just won’t stop being a jerk
  53. Fathers, God expects you to forgive
  54. Over and over again
  55. Restore them to their previous place over and over again like he did for you
  56. TAKE TIME TO ANSWER THE HARD QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CHILDREN (VS. 25-32)
  57. And then there is the other son
  58. You know the one that stayed home and helped his father
  59. You know the one that has been slaving in the fields while his little brother was out having a good time
  60. He’s got a question and it’s a hard one
  61. He came in from working hard in the fields and hears the party going on
  62. Music and dancing
  63. He asked a servant what was going on and the servant told him
  64. He got mad-he would not go in
  65. His father stopped what he was doing and went out to talk to the older son
  66. I’m sure they told him that the boy was angry-he could have said tough and stayed in there partying
  67. He was within his rights as a father to make the decisions he made and not answer to anybody
  68. But he went out to his son
  69. The boys question: “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”
  70. This is a fair question-I might have the same one if I was in his position
  71. He has done everything his dad ever asked of him
  72. He has never gone away
  73. He has worked hard
  74. And this party animal comes home and he gets a party
  75. Where’s my party? Tough question
  76. This father patiently gives his reasons and answers the boys hard question
  77. “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
  78. He basically told his son, you have done good and everything that I have is yours to use however you want
  79. But son, we need to forgive your brother
  80. He taught his son about the same kind of forgiveness that we talked about earlier
  81. This father took the time to answer the hard questions and teach his son
  82. Fathers, the hard questions can be the greatest teaching opportunities
  83. Take the time to go and answer the hard questions that your children ask
  84. It is a lot easier to say, because I said so and that is final
  85. But maybe if they knew the reasons they would be more apt to follow you
  86. Maybe if you told them why, they could learn how to be a good father some day
  87. Take the time to answer the hard questions and teach your children

CONCLUSION:  More than ever in our time we need fathers that will step up and do the hard things.  Too many fathers are just getting away from their kids because they don’t want to deal with them.  Too many fathers are selfishly providing for themselves and only doing what they have to for their children.  Too many fathers are brash and harsh with their children thinking they are giving tough love.  Too many fathers just don’t have the time for their children.  Fathers, work hard to be what God wants you to be for your children!