And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
As soon as we begin playing a new sport or engage in a new hobby, we want to be good at it instantly. Even when I collected baseball cards as a kid, I wanted all of the cornerstone cards like the rookie cards of Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris that first summer. When I got my first dirt bike, I wanted to do jumps and take it into the mountains. Who wants to go up and down a dirt road? When we graduate college, we want our own company. When I started playing golf, I wanted to be in the 90’s after a month, 80’s after a season, then 70’s soon thereafter. The same is true with our blessings from God. We want it all now. We want to cash out all of our rewards as soon as we can. If we teach a Sunday School class, we can easily get disheartened if it doesn’t grow 1000% in our first year. If we are a pastor, the flesh can feel like a failure if our congregation doesn’t grow and multitudes are saved the Sunday after our ordination. Similarly, soon after salvation, we want to teach classes and lead groups. If we aren’t careful and try to “bless ourselves” too fast, we will begin to doubt whether God is even in our efforts. “Here I am doing God’s work and He is all-powerful and righteous, yet I have to trudge along cleaning pews.”
God doesn’t work in this way. Whenever the blessings do arrive in our life, we will admit we weren’t ready for our advancement had they came any earlier. Our blessings come with burdens. An increase in members of a congregation means more souls in need of being fed, more families needing to be served, and more classes needing to be taught. If the proper foundation isn’t given the sufficient time to form, the ministry will not be effective without this maturing period. We continually grow as Christians. Things we didn’t think were harmful or sinful to us 10 years ago, we now realize to be unnecessary hindrances to our spiritual growth and path. Admittedly, when I was a young Christian, I thought attending only the Sunday morning service was sufficient. It took a few years until I realized the benefits of midweek Bible study and returning to church on Sunday evenings. My spiritual growth was hindered. To what degree, I will never know.
The prodigal son could not wait for the natural course of his portion of the inheritance. He needed it now. After all, he would be entitled to it. “What good would an inheritance be if you are too old to enjoy it?” He was too young to be wasting time working on his father’s farm. There was too much life to be lived. However, he wasn’t ready for all of his earthly goods and substance. The prodigal son realized this truth after wasting his inheritance and time away from his family.
If we receive our supposed blessing too early, it will lead to ruin and disaster. Consider the large percentage of lottery winners who soon thereafter file for bankruptcy. Look at the number of celebrities who have been unable to handle fame and wealth. The blessings come with burdens which are seemingly unbearable if we are not spiritually strong enough for the endowment. We must allow God to equip us for what he has in store for us. The arming and growth isn’t instantaneous. There will be time when the enemy will cast doubt in you as to whether God is able or willing to ever act. God is faithful to His people and our inheritance should never be taken for granted. Some of us are meant to be farmers – blessed farmers!