The Reckless Son

There once was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father, "Dad give me my share of the property that I am to inherit."

So the father split up the farm between the two of them. It wasn’t too long before the younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a foreign country where he began to live it up and thus squandered his wealth. Eventually he discovered that he was penniless.

About that time the country where he was living was caught in the grip of a severe famine, and he began to feel the pinch. So he went off and got a job with some country folk and they sent him out into the fields to feed pigs. However, out there no one bothered to give him anything. He became so desperate, that he even craved for the food the pigs ate. After a while he came to his senses and said to himself, ‘ How many workers does my father have who get three square meals a day? Here I am, starving to death! I’ve got to get out of here! I think I’ll go home to my father and say, 'Dad, what I’ve done was wrong before God and you! It’s no good you calling me your son anymore, could you possibly hire me as a farm hand?’

So, with this in mind, he got up and returned to his father. But long before he reached home, his father saw him coming and took pity on him and ran out to meet him. He threw his arms around his neck and kissed him again and again.

“Dad," the discouraged son lamented, "what I did was wrong to you and before God. So it’s no good for you to call me your son anymore. . . "

The father took no notice of his son's lament and called out to the servants. "Quickly! Go and get the best clothes you can find and bring them to me! We'll dress him up, and put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet! Catch that calf we’ve fattened. Kill it! We will have a party to celebrate! For this is my son! I thought he was dead but He's, alive! I thought I’d lost him, but I’ve found him again!"

So they did what they were told and a great celebration began.

Now the older son was out in the fields while all this was happening, and as he came back to the homestead, he heard the music and dancing. He called out to one of the servants and asked him what was going on.

‘Your brother's back!" The servant replied. "He has come home safe and sound, so your father has killed that calf we've been fattening to celebrate."

“When he heard this the older brother was furious and refused to go into the house. So his father came out and began to plead with him.

“Look here!" He shouted at his father. "How many years have I slogged and slaved for you? I’ve never disobeyed you once, and you haven't so much as even given me a kid goat for a party with my friends. But when this lout of a son of yours, who has blown all his money on prostitutes comes home, what do you do? . . For him! . . You go and kill that calf that we've been fattening!’

“My dear boy," the father replied. ‘You have been at home with me all this time and everything I own is yours. But we must have a party and celebrate, for this is your brother. I thought he was dead, but here he is, alive! I thought I’d lost him, but now I’ve found him again!’”

LUKE 15:11-32 Everyone's Friend pp. 76,77 (One of three stories told by Jesus to His critics illustrating God's care for those who feel valueless and lost.)