top of page

The Trip Back Home - Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Trip Back Home

 Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father.

Intro: This story has been preached thousands of times no doubt. I have preached this story more times than I can remember.


A. He was Foolish toward his Father – vs. 12

One of the first steps toward a backslidden life is foolish ideas about the Father.

He had a sense of entitlement.

For some reason, he begin to think that his father’s existence was to cater to him and his wants.

He stopped thinking about what he could do for the Father, and started thinking about what the Father could do for him.

The son’s place was in the field, working and laboring in the Father’s business.

This nightmare of a story begins with a son saying to his father, “Give to me…”


B. He was Frivolous with his Finances – vs. 13

Serving the devil is not cheap.

Sin comes with a high price tag.


C. He was Famished by the Famine – vs. 14

·        14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.


The Bible says there arose…

·        You have no control over the SEASON of the famine.

There is pleasure in sin for a season, but then the season of famine arises.

The famine doesn’t ask your permission. It doesn’t wait until you’re prepared.


The Bible says there arose a MIGHTY famine…

·        You have no control over the SEVERITY of the famine.


The Bible says there arose a mighty famine IN THAT LAND.


The Bible says that he began to be in want.          

·        You have no control of the SUFFERING from the famine.


·        Psalms 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.


D. He was Forgotten by his Friends – vs. 15, 16 …no man gave unto him.

He joined himself with a citizen of that country, but even that man didn’t go with him to feed the hogs.

He sent him. Notice the loneliness.

He didn’t go with him. He didn’t accompany him.

How many of your friends were with you in the Emergency Room when you OD’d?

How many of your friends rode in the ambulance with you when they were administering Narcan?

How many of your friends helped you get checked into rehab?

How many of your friends were with you when your marriage fell apart?

How many of your friends went with you to the abortion clinic to kill your own child?

How many of your friends helped pay your bills when you were about to lose your car or your house?

How many of your friends showed up to help you pick up the broken pieces of your life?


E. He was Forsaken in the Field

He sent him into HIS fields. Notice whose field it was.

He was working in another man’s field, all alone. Notice how used he was.

Isn’t it ironic that he didn’t want to work in his Father’s field, but look where he ended up.

Instead of working in HIS field, working in his Father’s field, he’s enriching a complete stranger.

You’re going to work in one field or another; but make no mistake; you’re gonna end up in a field.

The question is, who’s field are you going to work in?

When you work in the Father’s field, you don’t work alone.

When you work in the devil’s field, you work alone and get nothing to show for it.


F. He was Fixated on the Filth – vs. 16a

FAIN: to turn upon a thing; to have a desire for, long for, to desire; to lust after, covet; of those who seek things forbidden

NOTE: FILLED HIS BELLY - he didn’t just want to taste of it; he wanted to fill his belly.

It wasn’t just a side thing; he wanted it for his sustenance.

HOWEVER: There is one part of this story that very few people think about.

The Bible doesn’t expand on this part of the story.

In fact, it doesn’t even refer to it. It skips this part of the story.

·        Verse 20 says: “And he arose, and came to his father.”

However, we cannot ignore several key facts that make this statement possible.



He wasn’t down the street at a friend’s house.

He wasn’t across town at an Air B&B.

The Bible is clear; he was a long way from home.

·        verse 13 – he journeyed to a FAR COUNTRY.

·        verse 14 – in that land

·        verse 15 – that country


It will usually take longer to get back than it did to get away.

I’m sure he had a horse, or a donkey, or a camel, or a mule when he left.

One thing is for certain; he probably had to walk back.

Getting back where you need to be is far more complicated than getting out of God’s will.



·        Ask Eve how easy it was to get out of God’s will.

·        Ask Moses after he smote the rock how easy it was to disobey.

·        Ask Jonah how much easier the trip was to Tarsus than the trip to Ninevah!

·        Ask David how much easier it was to sleep with Bathsheba than it was to deal with the fallout.


I’m convinced a lot of people think they will run sow their wild oats, and then just pray for crop failure.

It was further back to the Father’s house than he remembered. I guarantee you.

The whole time he was on his journey the first time, he had funds; he had friends; he had fun.

This time, it was just him. Broke. Hungry. Alone. Miserable.

Trust me. The trip back home was a long one.



Verse 20 doesn’t expound on this fact, but it is true.

·        He had to walk back by every one of those houses of ill repute to get back.

·        He had to walk past every one of thos harlots that he had encountered to get back.

·        He had to walk past all those friends he’d met to get back.

·        He had to walk past a lot of parties and get-togethers to get back to the Father.

·        He had to ignore a lot of phone calls.

·        He had to delete some contacts.

·        He might have even had to change his email address and his phone number.

·        He might have had to delete some social media accounts.

·        He might have had to put up some boundaries and guidelines to prevent him from taking a detour.



Make no mistake; this boy missed the Father’s bread.He didn’t settle for anybody else’s bread.

He didn’t look for anybody else’s field to work in.

He was determined to go home, find the Father and work as a servant in HIS field.

He wasn’t just broke; he was broken.

He wasn’t just hungry; he was heartbroken.

He wasn’t just regretful; he was repentant.

Repentance is a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of will and a change of emotion.

The repentance that he demonstrated in this story is a testimony of how sincere he was to be restored.


NOTE: The speech he prepared in the hog pen is the exact same speech he gave in verse 21.

He didn’t change it.

He didn’t think about it and re-word it.

He didn’t find a way to say it to take the edge off.

He didn’t look for words to give himself the benefit of the doubt.

He proved his repentance by the heart and the word and the actions that he portrayed.


·        He was determined to ACKNOWLEDGE that he had sinned. – vs. 18

·        He was determined to ASK forgiveness.

·        He was determined to ASSUME responsibility.

NOTE: He didn’t blame his Father for giving him the inheritance.

He didn’t blame his brother for not loving him enough to come find him.

He didn’t blame the citizen of that far country.

He didn’t blame the harlots for taking all his money.

He assumed full responsibility for his actions.

Do you realize how rare this is??

The secret to restoration begins with I HAVE SINNED!!


He went from being an entitled brat to admitting I AM NO MORE WORTHY.

His sin didn’t change his RELATIONSHIP with the Father, but it severely affected his FELLOWSHIP with the Father.

He didn’t get the hugs and kisses and restoration UNTIL he admitted he repented.


Conclusion: I want to be clear today. God’s forgiveness is just a prayer away.

But make no mistake; if you have been out of God’s will for a while, you won’t bounce back to your former self overnight.

You are going to have to make some tough decisions.

THE TRIP BACK HOME means you’ve got to get rid of some friends.

THE TRIP BACK HOME means you’ve got to stop blaming others for your mess.

THE TRIP BACK HOME means you’ve got to forsake the hog pen and make a beeline to the Father’s house.

THE TRIP BACK HOME means you’ve got to stop acting entitled and realize that you’re a servant.

THE TRIP BACK HOME means you’ve got to change the way you look at yourself, and the world and the Father.

THE TRIP BACK HOME might take a while, but you can get there if you are sincere.



606 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page