(Luke 15:17-18 KJV) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father; I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
When we read this story it is easy to form an opinion of this young prodigal because of his undisciplined lifestyle. We think things like, “How could he do such a thing to his father?” The fact is, probably most of us are just as guilty in the eyes of the Lord by doing some of the things we have done.
However, it is not the young man’s undisciplined life that I want to focus on today, but the fact that he remembered. I suppose at some time or another everyone has done things that have grieved their parents. But thank God that He has given us a memory that will oftentimes take us back to our roots of value.
It is sometimes easy to take our memory for granted and forget that it is a gift from God that operates like a compass. In other words, it takes us back to our foundational values. In my opinion, our memory is somewhere at the top of the list of all of the benefits given to us by God.
In the case of the prodigal his memory is what brought him back to considering the things of value he had learned as a child. His personal choice for life turned out to be a disaster, but his memory directed him back to the values of his father’s house. His memory forced him to make a comparison between his choice for life and his father’s choice for life…and there was no comparison. The disaster in his life triggered his memory to kick in and he ended up making the right decision...which was to return home.
Even though at the time of this story I was not a prodigal like the young man in our text I can certainly identify with his memory. At the time of my story I was just seventeen years old when I joined the Air Force. After a little while I wanted to come home, so I got a pass and hitchhiked all the way from
to Pennsylvania East Texas. My last ride dropped me off where my little
sandy country road intercepted the highway. I remember walking the two miles
down that deep sandy road through the woods to the farm.
I am not sure why, but a couple of days ago I began thinking about that experience and realized I remembered every thought I had while walking down the road that day, even though it was over 60 years ago.
As I pondered this experience I began to realize that if I can remember such things in detail, how much more the Lord remember our un-confessed sins. This is the reason we need to confess our sins...so He can forgive them and separate them from us as far as the East is from the West.
The real point is not that the prodigal sinned, but that he remembered and was able to do something about it. I think it would do all of us good to remember and thank the Lord for this valuable compass called memory.
Thank You for showing us the often overlooked lesson in our text called memory…because without it life would be much harder. Lord, I love remembering all the blessings in my life because I find them to be spiritual fuel that keeps me going through the difficult seasons of life.