The Distant Independent Son

There was a man who owned large farmlands.  After high school graduation, his son came to this father and asked for a big chunk of money so he could go to college or maybe start a small business of his own.  The good and generous father encouraged his son and gave him the money.  You could say that the son “took the money and ran”.  He left without further thought of his father and dropped contact.  The son left home and went into the world for freedom, adventure, and good times.  He found peers who were pursing the same “happy days”.

Eventually the money was gone and so were the “friends”.  The son had misused the money, leaving nothing for seed in the building of his life.  Without education or trade, he took a job as a hired hand.  His employer was a hard taskmaster.  It was hard to make ends meet.  One day, the son was surprised to find himself desiring to eat the employer’s dinner leftovers which he routinely fed to the pigs. What was he thinking?  What was he doing?  As he CAME TO HIS SENSES, he remembered his good and generous father.  The employees of his father’s house were well taken care of and had plenty good food to eat!  The son realized his foolishness and how he had taken advantage of his father without respect or thankfulness.  He would eat his pride and return home and humbly ask for his father’s forgiveness and for a job.  Crucifying his pride and determined to turn his  life around, he headed home.

His father’s heart had been burdened by the absence of his son and he continually watched for his return.  The day came when he did see his son coming down the driveway looking like a poor begger.  He ran with open arms to greet and hug his son.  While the son was giving his repentance speech, the father brought fine, clean clothes and shoes.  He also gave him the family signature ring.  (A son is still a son, even when he messes up badly.)  All this time, the father was rejoicing saying, “My son was dead to me but is now alive!”  And he instructed his chefs to prepare a huge party so everyone could celebrate the return of his son.

The older brother who had been working in his father’s fields at the time of the young son’s return heard all the commotion.  “What is going on? “ “Your brother is back and we are having a celebration for him.”  “That no good brother.  Why are we celebrating him when I have been the one who stayed and I have been doing all the work!  Why don’t I get the party in my honor?”  The father overhead the conversation and said, “It is right to celebrate because your brother was lost and as good as dead to us, but now he is alive with us again.  You have worked hard with me, and everything I have is yours.  Your reward is much greater than a party.  Your brother will also have his own consequences. But, now is a time to rejoice.  Do not be hard hearted. Let love be fulfilled.  Love one another as I love both of you.”

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