As a kid my grandfather would always tell me there are two types of people, those who are given money and those who earn it. That has always stuck with me since I was kid….not the money part but the two types of people. I personally think there are two types of people, those who enjoy NASCAR and those who don’t get it. I would be the person who doesn’t get it!
In Luke 15 Jesus walks through this story of a family that has two brothers that represent two types of people. One is the risk taker and one is the responsible one. The risk taker has offended his father by seeking after his inheritance entirely too early. The responsible has offended his father by not wanting to join the rest of the family.
I personally grew up in a family of risk takers. I was raised in Dallas where my mom and dad met, married, and divorced before I was 5. My mom raised my brother and I, my father was an alcoholic, and as a result I grew up really fast, really skeptical, really independent.
Maybe some of you have a similar story and maybe some of you have a family background that represents more of the responsible types. Maybe your family background was a little more “normal”. No parents ever went to jail, never had drugs in the house. People provided rules and direction and you followed them, you paid bills on time, and generally try to make a positive contribution to society. My wife Holly comes from a family of responsible types.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells this story about two people who function as a metaphor for the spiritual condition of humanity. Both brothers have rejected the authority of their father and offended the other one by the way they have treated the family and their rejection of their father is spiritually symbolic of our rejection of God. I know, I know you would never reject God, but we do and if we are honest we are annoyed by the fact that he created us to even need him and so we come up with a plan to cover or mask our need for him. It is how we end up with two types of people. The risk takers and the responsibles.
The responsible fill this void of God by trying to be good people. We try to help out in the community, become a teacher, a doctor, maybe go to church, and at the very least we will add value to the society. That is what the older brother thought he was doing.
Others of us also recognized our need and mask our void of God by just living in the moment. Experience life. Enjoy it. After all you only have one so make the most of it. That is how we end up with the risk taker.
And honestly neither one of those are good ideas because scripture tells us on our best day, our best efforts, our best plans, aren’t going to fill the void / need that we have for God. That is why God came to us, his name is Jesus. The younger brother thought he could go home and at the very least be a servant, however, the father had a better plan. That he would be a son and be restored to the family.