ODJ: Fool’s Errand

June 6, 2017 

READ: Luke 15:11-32 

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!” (v.17).

In my Nigerian boarding school, students loved to indulge in a practical joke. An older student would send an unsuspecting younger one on an errand to get the “rainbow bucket” from another older student. The latter would then ask the young student to get it from another older student. On and on it went until someone took pity on the unsuspecting student and revealed that the bucket didn’t actually exist!

In a far more significant way, the prodigal (or wasteful) son in Jesus’ parable set out on his own fool’s errand searching for fulfilment though embracing a destructive lifestyle (Luke 15:12-14). He disgraced his family by asking for his inheritance while his father was still alive. Worse still, he squandered that money.

Later, at his wits’ end, the young man took a job feeding pigs—one with such meagre compensation that he found himself envying the pig feed. Eventually the scales fell from his eyes and he went home in the hope of attaining servant status in his father’s household (vv.16-19).

His father’s generous welcome of him not as a servant but as a beloved son must have made his earlier quest seem foolish indeed. Everything he’d been searching for— acceptance, importance and independence—had been his all along (vv.22-24).

All too often, we may find ourselves in the prodigal son’s shoes. Only after our best-laid plans and efforts have proven futile do our thoughts turn to our heavenly Father. Seeking self-worth and satisfaction outside of God is the supreme fool’s errand. As we embrace our identity in Jesus, however, we’ll experience true fulfilment that can only come from God—the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Luke 1:5-25

Read Titus 3:3-7 to see how God has saved us from the effects of foolish living. 
On what basis do you assess your worth? Is this in accordance with God’s view of you as revealed in Scripture? Why or why not?