Don’t go back to the Pig Trough
The story of the Prodigal son (or the Lost son) is a well known parable of Jesus. It describes the journey of a young man (humanity) who squanders the inheritance of his benevolent father (God) and winds up eating out of a pig trough (the fall/sin). The Prodigal has become something of a lexicon for the disenfranchised or outcasts, but in its truest sense it is about this son who lost his way away from his father. What’s amazing is that the son finally realizes, as he eats the scraps left for the pigs, that his father treated his servants far better than this. He decided to return as a servant or slave to the father, but then soon found his father took him back with open arms and thanksgiving. The son was redeemed from squalor destitution.
(here is the passage in Luke)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Parable of the Lost Son
11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
This is the transformation of Christ: the redemption of mankind to the sons (and daughters) of God. But not only is the transformation important, but so is the lesson underneath this story: Don’t go back to the pig trough.
Don’t go back to the pig trough. We may feel inclined to return to the garbage we broke free from. The old ways, the old recordings, that “pig trough” is comfortable. We know what we’re dealing with, and we understand the expectations (and they are low back in the pig trough).
Growth isn’t comfy. In fact, it’s painful and mysterious in many respects. Sometimes it feels better to return to our stagnant ways than face the uncomfortable adventure that growth offers us. We aren’t going to grow and then stop and be comfortable. We’re going to grow continuously. Stopping puts us back on the bench of our life’s game. God doesn’t call us to sit out the decisions of our lives.
Jesus says, “ I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:9-10 NIV)
Jesus said that he came to give us life “to the full”, not “to the full, but kinda sorta when it’s convenient to you… if you want.” The full abundance of life comes from introspection and realizing we are living at the pig trough, picking ourselves up and walking to the father’s house. Reconciliation brings freedom, but it also brings temptation. Don’t go back to the old ways because they are easier. Take the path of growth: sometimes uncomfortable, but fulfilling, growth.
Don’t go back to the old ways because Christ freed us from them. As it says in Romans:
“ For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin… (Romans 6:6 NIV)”
Live in freedom! Discover your mission! Hear God’s calling and get prepared for the growing pains!
Songs for the Listening:
Take a look at these songs. The first is “Prodigal” by One Republic. You can buy it here: Amazon.com
And here is the other song, an AFTER and REMINDER that His Love NEVER FAILS. ”Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. You can buy it here: Amazon.com