by Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“I want to congratulate all the men out there who are working diligently to be good fathers whether they are stepfathers, or biological fathers or just spiritual fathers.”- T. D. Jakes
“Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person.”- Naveen Jain
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SON 21st CENTURY EDITION
Forward Thinkers, we have spent a great deal of time discussing The FOG, “Favor of God” and how the FOG will produce LAG, “Look at God” stories. Today, Forward Thinkers, I’m believing God that more turn around stories will happen today as you read this article dedicated to Fathers across America.
Forward Thinkers, the bible says when men come together in unity it is good like precious oil running down Aaron’s beard and I declare, there is so much potential in this article that someone will go from the bottom to the top.
Forward Thinkers let’s take a 21st century look at the parable of the lost (prodigal) son:
Luke 15:11-32 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Son Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Forward Thinkers now that we have read the biblical text let’s identify the three personalities mentioned in this parable.
The Father- he represents God the Father
The Younger Son- he represents most of us at some point of our life
The Older Brother- he represents those of us some pretending to be perfect and without sin
Forward Thinkers let me drop this in your spirit and leave it hanging over our heads — John 3:16 says 16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
Forward Thinkers, when did God change his mind about whosoever’s and when did he give us the right to choose who whosoever’s were? Today my goal is to speak truth into all three groups of men, because I believe every man reading this article today can relate to one of these men.
Forward Thinkers first let me search out a point; I’ve never heard anyone touch when dealing with the prodigal son.
Forward Thinkers, where is the mother? This is not a story of a deadbeat dad because this man is raising his two sons alone. Let’s celebrate and encourage every man that has Man up in the absence of a woman. Forward Thinkers, on Mother’s Day we go hard celebrating Super Moms but, I don’t see any parades for Super Dads on Father’s Day. You won’t find Hallmark cards on Mother’s Day for single Dads. #FatherMattersToo
Forward Thinkers, you know I’m a student of the bible and history and I noticed the Father is not called a “widow” therefore; the boys’ mother is probably not dead as many have assumed. So Forward Thinkers where is she? The bible counted the sons of Issachar wise because they knew the times so I reason she is in 1 of 3 places:
Locked Up – Forward Thinkers black women are now six times more likely to be in prison than any other group of women in America. Orange is new Black for African American women. Forward Thinkers I was shocked to read that 64% of Black women in prison are mothers.
Hooked Up – Forward Thinkers unfortunately many African women turn to drugs trying to escape the realities of life. Forward Thinkers many women have become hooked on prescription drugs as well as street drugs trying to numb the pain of broken promises and relationships.
Turnt Up – Forward Thinkers many won’t admit this or like this but in our culture today many women prefer twerking over mothering.
Forward Thinkers, if this were a story of a single mother with two sons we would assume the daddy is a deadbeat but in spite of it all this Father stood up to his responsibilities.
Forward Thinkers he decided he wanted to experiment with the world not knowing the world don’t play fair.
Let me also drop this in your spirit to all single parents (custodian parent) a child needs the influence of both parents. Whenever you deny one parent the right to be a part of a child’s life that child misses out on what that parent had to offer. Yes, Forward Thinkers every parent has something to offer because, God calls children gifts and God would not bless us with gifts and then not give us the ability to take care of the gifts. Many children get caught up in the world because they are searching for the relationship they missed out on at the house.
Wild Living – Forward Thinkers let’s pause and thank God we don’t look like what we been through. Forward Thinkers I’m honored to know I’ve been assigned to preach the gospel to the Wilding Out Generation.
Poor time and money management – Forward Thinkers how much time and money have we wasted trying to find ourselves in the world? Men we must learn to master both time and money if we desire to be Masters in life.
Hired himself out – Forward Thinkers our bad decisions will have us living beneath our standards and depending on systems that are not designed for us. Forward Thinkers the enemy and his system will never take care of us in a fair way. Forward Thinkers many men make decisions that cost them their freedom and in prison they are forced to work for Fortune 500 companies for free but once they are released from prison they don’t qualify to work the same job they been working for past 10 years. Forward Thinkers I want to put a demand on every company that profits from free prison labor and hold them responsible to educate and employ these same men who are making them richer.
Came to his senses – Forward Thinkers my goal is to help every man I enter into covenant with to come to his senses and encourage him to reach his full potential. Forward Thinkers when a man comes to his senses he realizes the things in his life that don’t make sense.
Going back to my father’s house – Forward Thinkers the bible says to train up a child and this is further proof his father was a strong man because he did not run back to his mother. Forward Thinkers the father in this parable represents God the Father because he never stopped loving his son.
The Father –
Forward Thinkers notice the father was waiting on his son to return. This is a perfect example of unconditional love and forgiveness. I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to serve a God that never counts us out no matter how far away we go.
The Older Brother
Forward Thinkers, the older brother is acting like many in the 21st century church always judging the lost but never encouraging the lost. The older brother is also the group afraid to take risks but quick to judge those bold enough to leap out into the deep. Some people are sitting around waiting for somebody to die to get their belongings instead of venturing out to create their own legacy. The older brother also displays a jealous spirit and is disconnected from the journey of life. Forward Thinkers it’s hard to trust a man with no scars.
Forward Thinkers verse 32 sums up the entire parable: 32 “But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Forward Thinkers we are blessed that God allowed his grace to keep us until we came to our senses.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the church website www.ghic.net