Time To Take Inventory

     “11And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living”. 13And 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. 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:11-24. Inventory time comes when a businessman must take time to count what he has. It is the time when the facts must be faced for profit or lost. In the above the young man took his inventory while eating in the pig pen! At the end of his self-examination he found that he had a great loss. His resolution was, “I will arise and go to my father.” What happened to this young man to bring such a loss. What did he do about it?

   First, he had thought only of “goods” instead of God. (Verses 11, 12). This story is probably the tenderest story Jesus ever told.  Here is a father who is a good and compassionate man. However, what his son had done brought the father great grief. This young man knew that someday a part of all of his father’s things would be his. There is no thought of God here. He approaches his father for the inheritance. He would find all of these goods were empty, but now they seemed necessary. There were others before him that found “things” empty. One can read of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:11. Then there was also the rich young rule that approaches Jesus wanting to know, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” When Jesus told him to sell all his “things” he went away sorrowful because he was wealthy. Luke 18:18-25. What is our life saying to the Heavenly Father. “I want my share of the goods.”  “I will neglect the what the Bible says to get them.” “I will forsake God for things.”

   Second, he thought only of his flesh instead of his future. (Verses 13-16). What had he done? He had “wasted his substance with riotous living.” He just had to get into that far country. He just wanted to get away from his father (authority figure). This young man thought that many of his problems would be settled if he could just get away from “home.”  Many folks want a “new environment.” Here we see the cry of the flesh. Paul wrote, “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:3. He also wrote, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:1-8.

There are two directions in which men move. First, those who are searching for satisfaction in goods. Second, those who are searching for fulfillment in feelings, drugs, alcohol or other pleasures. This is a sad picture in the pigpen. ”When he came to himself…How many hired servants…have bread enough and to spare.” He did not ignore the situation as some might have done. “I am hungry, but I guess everybody else is too.” “I am feeding pigs, but there are others doing the same.”  Many excuses their spiritual misery by thinking everybody is in the same boat. However, the young man responded to the truth and it changed his life. (Verse 18-24). “I will arise and go to my father.” The father awaits and welcomes his son back. Forgiveness awaits all who obey what God has said. Examples of those who were saved in the New Testament: Acts 2:14-42; 8:5-13; 8:30-39; 9:17-18, 22:6-16, 26:12-18; 10:34-48; 16:13-15; 16:25-34; 18:8; 19:1-7. Bobby D. Gayton