Some people are really smart and they achieve many accomplishments. But, can you imagine becoming an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and a university professor all before the age of 20? Frank William Abagnale, whose story is shared in the movie Catch Me If You Can, accomplished all these things but only through forgery, deceit and fraud. As a teenager, Frank grew up in a broken home which influenced him to do whatever it took to find acceptance from others; even the extent of living a lie. Frank figured out a system of copying and writing false checks which banks were unable to detect in order to cash in. He forged paperwork, made false identities, stole uniforms to pass as an airline pilot enabling him to free flights through Pan-Am airlines. Despite his clever schemes Frank was apprehended in France and spent 5 years in jail. He had swindled $2.5 million but later was hired by the FBI to help them detect counterfeits.
This message is about 2 sons… one was a big talker like Frank Abagnale and the other was a doer in the end. The challenge is for you to learn the difference between being a talker and a doer.
Jesus’ parables were directly related to the religious system of that day. Jesus speaks all throughout the Gospels of the lack of authenticity in the lives of the religious leaders of the day. In this parable, Jesus is very clear that he expects nothing less than full obedience. This parable contrasts the responses of 2 sons and their obedience to their father.
Both sons were disobedient. The first son was answered his father rude arrogance. Yet, after time and guilt he changed his mind to obey. The second son answered his father either with outright deceit or without thought to the meaning of his words. Even though both sons were in the wrong, Jesus commended the first son for his repentance and changed actions.
Many teens are like these 2 sons. They either respond with selfish pride or with great apathy and little feeling to their commitment level. Our words are important and have value, therefore we should choose them carefully in how we respond to others. Flippant attitudes or idle words are not appropriate responses toward parents, adults, friends or much more God. From this passage teens can learn 2 truths.
Walking the talk involves both actions & attitude.
These two sons failed to realize that obedience is not just in what we do but also how it is done. If we obey with a unwillingly or with a begrudging attitude then that is incomplete. True obedience to God should bring joy and satisfaction because it trusts that God’s will is always perfect and right.
John 15:10-11 “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Walking the talk involves more than good intentions.
This story shows that simply giving lip service to Jesus, parents or others is unacceptable. Affirming faith in God by simply attending church or youth group does not automatically make you a Christian. Faith is more than just good intentions. God does not just want our ears to hear Bible sermons and lessons; he wants our hearts to listen and follow what he wants us to live every day of life. What you say and do is equally important.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after lookin at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” In other words, people (Jesus included) will judge us more so by our actions than our words.
TAKING IT HOME
- How do you view the life of Frank William Abagnale Jr.? Do you know anyone like him? Explain.
- When it comes to obeying God and the Bible… are you all talk or all action?
- When it comes to obeying parents and authorities… are you all talk or all action?
- What are some things to help you become more of a doer than a talker?