A certain affluent man had two sons and the younger one came asking for his fraction of the inheritance from his father. Normally, a man’s testament becomes effective when he dies but this young boy wasn’t waiting for that time, he wanted to have what was presumed to be his share. The startling thing is that he wasn’t reprimanded by his father, his father who possibly didn’t pick offence with his request.
As a plausible father, he granted his son’s request, calculated all he had and brought out what was deemed to be his younger son’s share and gave them to him. I like to think that his second son was there while the whole thing was being evaluated. The Bible said he gathered it for some days which means that he spent time ensuring that he truly got what was his share completely.
He left his father’s house and sojourned into a far country. He went to create his brand. You know, we always hear things like “you can’t achieve certain things till you leave your father’s house.” Abraham left his father’s house after all and so it didn’t seem wrong to leave and do his best. He was an enthusiastic, ambitious young man who was full of vision but also full of himself.
He did his estimations, he took a bold step, he took a risk and he made his investments. He obeyed many laws of entrepreneurship but it all wasn’t good enough. He squandered all he had, starting from the cash to other properties! Who knows? Possibly, he also did all manner of bets, played all manner of casinos, went to all manner of clubs; living the best of his young age. You hear those quotes too, right? Life isn’t two, we only live once! Yea, it seemed proper to make his once-living worth it.
When everything was gone, it was dawned on him that he messed up. Of all the alternatives he had, going home to his father wasn’t in the option. He wouldn’t want to face the embarrassment, he didn’t want his elder brother to laugh at him, he didn’t want his father to berate him and chase him out of the compound. Just like some parents treat their daughters who get pregnant out of wedlock, he felt his father would treat him worse. After all, everything that belongs to him has been given to him.
To make ends meet, he applied for all manner of jobs but he wasn’t even qualified for any. The only job he qualified for was to feed pigs! Pigs are unclean animals and honourable people don’t rear pigs! This was what he seemed qualified for. He took up the job but things were getting more difficult. He started appreciating old memories of what the servants usually enjoyed in his father’s house and he thought it would be a nice idea if he applies as a servant! He garnered courage, there was nothing to pack because everything was gone! He had said to himself
“How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”
While nearing home, he was scared, wondering what would be his fate if his father sights him. He knew his offence, he wasn’t ignorant of it. Making a request wasn’t the offence but his attitude, motive and carelessness was the problem. His request was placed on a platter of selfishness. Somehow, he knew what the judgement would look like but again he just wanted to try and ask his father to make him the least of his servants.
He was still at the gate, his heart was skipping beats, he was lost in thoughts and he walked slowly hoping that this journey doesn’t end soon! But he heard someone call out his name in excitement, it was his father! He never expected that. He strengthened his gaze to see his father running towards him.
He had many thoughts flying in and out of his mind. Perhaps, his father was excited that he finally got a chance to kill him. He might have thought he was running down towards him to draw his sword and slash his throat. He stood his ground though, perhaps saying to himself “I deserve whatever comes upon me today.” But as his father drew closer, he could see smiles all over his face, he could see love written all over his father. His father ran to him, spread his arms and allowed him to fall into his embrace, making him get the feel of security and the comfort of having a father!
He wanted to tell his father what he faced, he wanted to sing apologies into the high heavens, he wanted to give all the excuses in this world but his father wasn’t even listening to him. Even before he realized his mistake, his father had forgiven him. Even before he thought of looking for ways to justify himself, his father already justified him. Till date, his father never heard a line of his plea because he never needed it! He already forgave his son!
Still in that embrace, his father remembered that very day his son was leaving, he had walked behind his son and his entourage, he had stopped by the gate looking at his son disappear into space. He had stood there watching the space with tears silently rolling down his eyes. He remembered sitting at the gate hoping his son would change his mind. Every morning, he would walk down from his room to the gate to sit, wait and hope that someday, his son would return. He wasn’t doing this because he didn’t value the other son. There was a space in his heart each of them occupied. They were both very important to him and he couldn’t afford to lose one. He had continued his daily ritual of sitting at the gate till that faithful day that his son came back to him.
The father didn’t start blaming him for going away, he didn’t start demanding an explanation. Although his young son left him and forgot him, he didn’t leave his son not forgot him, his heart was with him always. His son’s attitude towards him didn’t change him, it didn’t change the way he saw him. Now that his son was back, he won’t let go of him again. His son didn’t come back just because he has been humbled, he came back because he has exhausted all possible options. But his father’s love changed him instantly, it melted his heart and humbled him; working wonders of transformation in him. While he was still trying to explain, his father was already making orders. The decoration company had arrived, the hall was set, cooling vans we’re arriving, dancers and entertainers had filled the compound. Messages have been sent to dignitaries and the Father’s business partners everywhere were getting busy and ready.
The first son just finished for the day. He had assumed the role of the managing director of his fathers business. He could hear sounds of celebration echoing from the compound as he came nearer. He beckoned on one of the servants who was passing and asked him what was going on but he got the biggest shock of his life when the servant informed him that his younger brother just came back and their father is throwing the biggest party in town in celebration of his return.
He was not just shocked, he got very angry! He was there when his younger brother took what belongs to him and left, he was there while his younger brother was away. He has been the one trying to run his father’s business all those while and no one has ever thrown a party on his behalf. He walked out on the servant and started raging towards his father’s room.
On getting there, he met his father laughing with his younger brother. His younger brother was narrating some of his experiences and they would laugh over it. He could not take it. It was obvious his younger brother didn’t come to appreciate his father, he came because he had no other option. Was he going to have a share from what doesn’t supposedly belong to him now?
He noticed his younger brother was wearing one of his father’s favourite robe and on his finger was his father’s ring. He was wearing a reserved scandal too! He had never worn those before! He wondered what his brother did to deserve this, the word “inherited favour” wasn’t familiar to him yet.
“Father!” He called out angrily, interrupting the moment. His father turned to look at him, his brother did the same also. His eyes and that of his brother met, there was anger written all over him but he has got no word for his brother. “Look at him, the prodigal son!” He murmured to himself. Then he faced his father and said to him
“Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you have thrown a party for his return!” He stared at his brother while he spoke
His father smiled, shook his head and walked towards him. He held him on his shoulder and said “come here son”, he paused and continued “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Do you know who this story is about? It is about God and you! He already forgave you even before you had a change of mind, He was and is still eager to receive anyone to his warm embrace. He isn’t listening to apologies, it’s unnecessary, He already overlooked it all! On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished!”
Regardless of how you feel, regardless of how other people feel about you, God is in love with you. Why not take a walk back home? It is tough out there but it is beautiful and secure in God’s arms. I know you didn’t work for it, but you don’t have to. I know you don’t deserve it but He said you do!
Based on Luke 15:11-32