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A Father Everyone Admires, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2023 7:05 am

A Father Everyone Admires, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 12, 2023 7:05 am

Restoring Your Family's Foundation

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
The Christian Car Guy
Robby Dilmore

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day, and it's fitting that we celebrate those who have made untold sacrifices on behalf of their children. To the moms in our listening audience today, we salute you. But surprisingly, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will speak not about motherhood, but instead about fatherhood.

Chuck is teaching from Luke chapter 15 in a message titled, A Father Everyone Admires. They're real, or they're realistic. Maybe they didn't actually happen, but the scene that he portrays in his story happens all over.

The best way for you to get the most out of this, yes, very familiar story is for you to put yourself in the place of the people within it. Seriously. Rather than sitting objectively back, arms folded almost like you've heard this all your life, like having your Bible upside down. I've been here before.

I know what this is about. You really don't, because you don't know what the future holds. You don't know where you're going to be next week, if you're here, still with us. You don't know what your family will be going through. You don't know what phone call will come in. You don't know what knock at the door will result in.

So I suggest you see this as if for the first time. The story is in Luke chapter 15, the gospel by Luke. I want to begin reading in verse 11 from the New Living translation, then we'll go all the way down to verse 24. This very real situation repeated multiple times in life, in all cultures, in all languages, in all parts of our world, because we all have an old nature that kicks in and takes over. And often it's the parents who have to pick up the pieces. And here's a dad who did a masterful job of that in this story that we're going to read. Luke 15, beginning at verse 11.

Follow along, do your best to identify with someone in the story. Jesus told him this story. A man had two sons. 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.

A few days later, this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land. And there he wasted all his money and wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept across the land and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 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. 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. I will go home to my father and say, father, I have sinned against both heaven and you and I'm no longer worthy of being called your son.

Please take me on as a hired servant. 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. His son said to him, father, I have sinned against both heaven and you and I'm no longer worthy of being called your son. But the father said to the servants, quick, bring the finest robe in the house, put it on him, get a ring for his finger, sandals for his feet and kill the calf we've been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he's found. So the party began. Thank you for listening to insight for living.

To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his searching the scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now let's resume the message that Chuck titled a father everyone admires. I've decided today to give the dads the respect that you deserve for a change. There's so many about us preachers on Mother's Day. I mean, we pull out all the stops. We go. My, we speak words of affirmation and encouragement. And we toast the mothers. And then on Father's Day we roast the dads.

For some reason, we feel the need to quote statistics about deadbeat dads and workaholic absentee fathers. And we sort of rake you over the coals because you weren't there for this or you're gone for that or you're preoccupied or you're not involved in whatever. Enough of that. There you go. I agree with you. Enough of that.

And so today I am going to give you the honor you deserve. Now, admittedly, like all mothers. Oh, we're not perfect. We cannot measure up even to our own standards. We're not the men we wish we were. Though we often find ourselves working at it, wanting to be.

And behind the scenes, truth be told, more often than not. For our children, we are the most significant man in their lives. For some, even their heroes, though we blush when we think about that word applied to us. We are, we're just men. We long to be better men, but here we are.

Warts and all. But we're here. And we're at it. We're staying at it.

We're committed to it. You know, I was a little surprised when I pulled a huge book out of my study shelves called a Concordance. No exaggeration. It's the tallest book in the shelf. And it's the heaviest. It's multiple pages of an alphabetical listing of all the words in the Bible. It's called an exhaustive concordance.

It's often exhausting when you try to work in it because it has print for fleas. Tiny, tiny, tiny print in three columns on each page as you turn from one thin page to the next, checking out the word you're looking for to see where it's found in the Bible. When you check father or the plural fathers, to my amazement, five full pages in my concordance. There are verses in these three column pages, five pages, where the word father or fathers appear.

For mothers, only a page. Now, obviously, you would expect some of that, I would think, because so often genealogies appear in the Bible. And that's traced back through the line of a father, most often. Rarely is the mother mentioned. So that would mention fathers more often. And frequently a person is identified as being the son of, and they'll name his father or her father, the daughter of this man. So there we are, mentioned again, again, and again, and again in the scriptures. So that God's word has a lot to say about men, about dads, fathers. And you know what? Often it's affirming.

It's positive. And among the most admirable is a man who appears in a story Jesus told, but never named the man. Doesn't tell us where he lived. Never mentions his wife. She's not in the story. Where is she?

And here's a man dividing his wealth among his sons, as we're going to see. And you would think she'd be there for that. If she was, she isn't mentioned.

That would be most unusual. You wonder if he's lost his wife by now. You wonder if he's getting up in years. His age is never given. No one is ever named in the story, but that doesn't matter. And interestingly, it has picked up the title that never appears in the Bible. The prodigal son.

You'll never find those words in the Bible. Why isn't it called the heroic father or a dad who got it right? Or how about a wayward lad and a waiting dad? Or maybe a dad everybody admires.

And we do. There are a couple of things before we get into what he did that were true of him as a person. First, he's affluent.

We don't know how much he's worth, but it's a lot. His estate is referred to in this passage of scripture, as well as his wealth in verse 12. And while we're at it, he had a fine robe that was available. He had a ring no one was wearing in the home. He had sandals available. And he had the luxury of leisure so that he could have a celebration at any moment. We don't know how much he was worth, but it was a lot.

The second thing I would note about him is that he's approachable. Not once does he interrupt his son when his younger son gets off on this, I want my money now. Now. I don't want to wait until you die.

I want it now. If you check the Jewish law in Deuteronomy, you'll find that this was really up to the father to determine when he would share his inheritance. And if there were two sons, two thirds would go to the older and one third would go to the younger. But the dad doesn't say to him, take a hike.

I'm going to do this when I'm good and ready. He doesn't say that. He listens to his son.

Doesn't start to preach. He hears what the boy is requesting. In fact, if I may be so bold, what he's demanding. Speaking of his father's wealth rather flippantly, I want it now. So we called in both boys and divided his wealth. That's a lot of money.

That's a big risk. You think he didn't know his sons? Of course he did. Here's a man whose wealth has not made him greedy. And when you read the next verse, you understand that he didn't just with a shrug give the boy the money and wave goodbye. Look for yourself. Look at the story.

It's in verse 13. A few days later, we read the younger son packed all his belongings and moved out. What happened in those few days?

Well, I ask you to enter into the story. What would you have done? And it is interesting that the boy hung around a few days.

You would have thought he would have gotten the cash and bolted. But he didn't. He isn't angry at his father.

He's just selfish. And you know what's interesting? When a father is willing to listen to his adult children, to listen to something he may not want to hear, he earns the right to say things to them they may not want to listen to. So he had his moment. I believe that during those few days, however long they were, however many, that the father sat down with this boy whom he loved dearly and talked straight about life. This boy now has more money than he's ever had in his life. That's dangerous.

Especially since he's had no experience to deal with life in the street. The dad knew a lot more about that than the boy did. So we had some words of warning and wise words of advice. I remember after our 17-day journey across the Pacific from San Diego to the harbor of Yokohama, before our ship would ultimately turn and go down to Okinawa, 3,500 Marines on board the ship. Now we're about to go on liberty for the first time in 17 days. Our company commander called all of us on the deck of the ship, told all of us at ease, sit down, I want to talk to you about what's ahead of you. And I'll never forget his opening line, for the first time in your life, you're the foreigner. You're the guest of a nation. Behave yourself. You'll be in your civilian clothes, so they'll know that you're Americans, but remember you're a Marine.

Conduct yourself as you should. His words were strong and they were firm. Some of the Marines quickly forgot them, but the advice was wise. He spelled out what life would be like on the streets of Yokohama. I'm sure he had been stationed there before. If not stationed there, he had been there. His chest was full of metals.

We had none. And he had a lot of things to say to us about what was in front of us. And he was right at every turn.

That's this dad. I also am convinced that there was no begging to stay. Please, please stay here.

He gave him the money and fully expected him to leave. I'm trying my best to restrain myself from pausing along the way and continually applying it. But dads, listen up. Listen up. I don't know where you are in the raising of your family, but if you're near this, you're going to probably be there. Your son or daughter will be off to college, or off to join themselves in a marriage, or off to the military, away from living under the roof, your watchful eye. The boy's got the money. He packs it all in his backpack along with a few essentials. And early the morning he planned to leave, he's gone. Probably didn't bother to say goodbye.

Or maybe he reached over and whispered to his dad, see you later. Verse 13 cuts to the chase. I love the way Jesus tells stories. He packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land.

Whoa, stop, wait, wait. Jesus is Jewish, often told stories to Jews they would understand. But this distant land had farmers who raised pigs. So he moves into Gentile territory. He's way away from the familiar.

A distant land. He's had enough of home and family and those tight surroundings, that older brother. He's gone. With that kind of money he draws a fast crowd, and they come happy to spend it for him and with him. Probably got a nice penthouse with a view.

Enjoyed buffets with exotic food. Spent too much, too fast. Hadn't wasted all of his money on wild living. Who knows how many other guys came and went and other gals came and went.

You can just imagine the fast life he entered. But when that money ran out, those friends ran out. He can't make his rent, so he's on the street. If you have ever been on the street, you don't need any explanation. One of the most dangerous and desperate places to live.

I've spoken to men and women from the street during my years in the Los Angeles area and even here in the Dallas area. Their eyes are hollow. Their stories are heartbreaking. Their souls are empty.

They're desperate. That's what happened to this boy. About the time his money ran out, a great famine.

Isn't that amazing? One after another after another. Bad goes to worse, worse goes to impossible, impossible goes to the end. He hits bottom. You know who's conspicuous by his absence?

The father. He didn't run after him. He didn't send out a search party. He didn't send notes of love. He didn't say, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. He didn't take responsibility for his boys.

Irresponsibility. He didn't say, I'm going to change all the standards so you'll feel comfortable. Just come on back home. Things are going to change here.

None of that. Dad's home. Dad's secure. Dad knows who he is. He's willing to wait. And we read, no one gave the young man anything. Dad keeps waiting.

But I'll tell you what he did do. He prayed. And he watched. Sunrise and dusk.

Looking for that familiar silhouette on the horizon. For however long we're not told. The dad doesn't even gossip about him and he doesn't believe the gossip that the grapevine brings back from wherever the boy was living. We read that finally he says to this farmer, could I possibly work for you? And of all things, the worst, the most degrading of jobs. This Jewish boy begins to feed pigs. And he's knee deep in swine excrement and slop. He is filthy. And it's cold and lonely.

It's all part of the plan. And you read an amazing statement in verse 17. He finally came to his senses.

I will return to my father. And did you know that Chuck wrote a book on the family that naturally compliments this study? If you're looking to create a stronger bond in your relationships, I'd highly recommend it. It's called Parenting from Surviving to Thriving. Whether for yourself or for a young mom and dad just getting started, we believe this book will help cultivate healthy relationships in the home.

It's practical, it's fun to read, and most important, it's squarely founded on biblical truth. To purchase Chuck Swindoll's book, Parenting from Surviving to Thriving, go to slash store. Or call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. And then we want to thank you for your generous support of Insight for Living. It's possible you've been listening to Chuck's teaching for a long time. Well, maybe your gift today will do for someone else what his teaching has done for you. You can be the one who invests in young families through this daily Bible teaching program.

So as God leads you to give, please follow his prompting. You can give a donation today by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

And you can give online at slash donate. In closing, I want to remind you about the worship service that's streamed live every Sunday morning. You can hear the sacred music as well as Chuck Swindoll's sermon every weekend.

To view the service as it occurs on Sunday morning or watch at a time that better suits your schedule, go to slash Sundays. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe a Father Everyone Admires on Insight for Living. The preceding message of Father Everyone Admires was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-11 14:18:13 / 2023-05-11 14:26:19 / 8

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