Supply For Servants
By the time the prodigal gets to the pig pen, this guy is having to eat that which is nothing more than left-over and waste. He is suffering at this level because he has stepped out of his metron (sphere of influence) not satisfied to yield to his father’s wise timing. Thankfully, he came to himself in that situation and realized that his father’s servants, in their metron, fared better than he did. Although he was a son, the servants were better off than him at this point and their position and circumstance was far more desirable than what he had being out of position as a son born to privilege and inheritance. After wasting the measure of rule he had carved out for himself, he realized that he had presumptuously grasped a measure of rule he was not ready for. If a private in the army can stay within his measure of rule, he will have all the food he needs, all the gasoline for his jeep, all the bullets for his rifle and all the medical care he will need; and he will never pay rent or electric bills (Mt 6:33-and all these things will be added unto you). His peers will never be allowed to promote him or talk him into taking the position of a captain. As his superior officers observe him, they will measure his abilities and promote him accordingly (Ps 75:6-7). The prodigal concluded, “My father’s servants have stayed within their measure of rule and look how well supplied they are.”
For not from the east nor from the west nor from the south come promotion and lifting up.
7 But God is the Judge! He puts down one and lifts up another. (Ps.75:6-7, Amp)
The prodigal got what he desired which was based upon his appetite, based upon what his aspirations could grasp. Those desires were nowhere near based upon the wisdom of His father. Our heavenly Father is too wise to act irrationally and too compassionate to be cruel. He continually measures us and will not put on us more than we are capable of bearing (compare Jn 6:5-6). He is never the one to lay on the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Where Did Everybody Go?
God will not replenish what is not our God-given measure of rule and sphere of influence. The prodigal kept spending and spending, oblivious to the inevitable end when the bag would be empty. From the moment he stepped out from under his father’s weighing and measuring of him, from the moment he removed himself from the sphere his father had observed was best for him, that bag of gold began to diminish. When humans imagine and design the product of their own aspirations, the pleasure of walking in it for a season doesn’t allow them to consider financial, moral or emotional bankruptcy (Prov 14:12; Isa 47:8-9) nor how readily they use people to their own ends. Our zeal and energies can take us some distance but the tank will eventually run out. As Lk 15:16 proves, people will grow weary and find some place else to be.
(This excerpt is a continuation of the article “Your Sphere Of Influence” by Marty Gabler)
I will not allow any person nor any adverse circumstance
to determine the lifespan of the hope God originally put in me. (MG)
Alignment Before Assignment
The prodigal ended up with the bag of gold he demanded. The prodigal (prodigal means “wasteful”) demands and takes what he does not have a metron over and handles it wastefully. A “metron” is a measure of rule or sphere of influence (2Co 10:13-14). When he finished handling what his measure of rule and sphere of influence was not yet fitted for, it was all gone with absolutely nothing to show for all his desires and demands and striving. He had not yet yielded to training that would enable him to handle that particular gift profitably. It’s like trying to haul a dump truck load of dirt in a pickup. The greatest part of the dirt is spilt on the ground and the pickup breaks down under the heavy load it manages to hold. It doesn’t mean that he was never meant to handle bags of gold; it just means that he had not yet been disciplined for that size of metron. A caution to consider is that a person’s gift can take them to a place that their character cannot keep them. A person can manipulate people and work relationships and make others obligated to give them something that they want (e.g., a position, a title, an opportunity). But if it is not within their sphere of influence and ability to handle, it will be wasted. As with this prodigal, prodigals tend to add to their misdemeanours by damaging others on their gift-mishandling spree.
Paul’s wisdom to young Timothy was to first prove men who desired to be deacons before allowing them to serve tables. (1Tim 3:10, 13) A small child can desire to drive a car but he does not have a measure of rule for it and will damage himself and others, though he may enjoy a great deal of exciting satisfaction before the crash. Some people have gotten what they and their relatives and friends wanted for them in a “ministry” but when it was not within their measure of rule, they crashed and many were damaged. There have been thousands of storefront buildings vacated after a short period of time with church signs over the door for the community to read and shake their heads at. The body of Christ can help identify us and our measure of rule and keep us from shipwreck. To quote Apostle Hodges, it’s “alignment before assignment.” Were we sent or have we just went?
What is the story of the prodigal son about in Luke 15? It is about a father wanting his son to step into and operate in his true authority. But the prodigal takes a direction that has nothing to do with the authority his father wills for him to walk in. His father’s desire for him would best suit him and would best prosper him and others, especially in the long haul. The… son is after a bag of gold, thinking that would be the means to reach what his senses told him was desirable and attainable. The father had a far greater inheritance for the boy than the boy was able to see through his impatience and misconceived sense of injustice. Through his greatly lacking vision, the son sees his inheritance as existing in a bag of gold. That’s right folks, one simple bag of gold that is not self-replenishing. Just because we can see something and the desire of it drives us, does not necessarily mean that “something” is what we are to aspire to.