Hi kids, this week we are learning about another parable of Jesus. This time we will learn about the parable of the Prodigal Son which is found in Luke chapter 15. Do you know what “prodigal” means? It means “wastefully extravagant” or “Squandering”. The main character in the parable spent his money in this way. He used his money so wastefully that it was almost like burning it!
Our story begins with a father and his two sons. They lived a very comfortable life in a large house with servants. The father was incredibly wealthy and his sons did not have to worry about anything. The younger son started to become sick of his father’s rules. He wished to be free of the restrictions his father had placed on him and his brother. He wanted freedom to do what he wanted. He didn’t need his father anymore – he was a man now and he decided he would leave the family home to start a new thrilling life. He needed money to survive of course. Do you think he went and got a job? No way! He never worked a day in his life. He would take what was rightly his – his inheritance.
The younger son boldly went to his father and demanded his inheritance at once. His father was shocked and deeply saddened that his son would treat him this way. Even though he was very hurt, the father decided to give him his share of the inheritance.
The younger son was now fabulously rich – with his own money. No more asking permission to use his Father’s money, he could spend his inheritance any way he chose. Days passed and he decided to journey to a far country. He quickly made many, many friends who enjoyed his lavish lifestyle. He would buy them all kinds of gifts. These new friends flattered him and made him feel like a prince, as long as he kept providing for them.
The younger son was running out of money, but instead of being wise in his spending habits, he used up every last cent and once the last cent was gone, so were his so-called friends. They did not help him. They didn’t even want to know him! To make things worse, the country he was in was experiencing a severe famine, so food was in very short supply. He didn’t have a single friend or any possessions left. He was homeless and alone. How different his life was now.
He spent his days feeding and cleaning up after pigs. He didn’t have any days off. It was pigs all day every day. How very different his life was now. He hadn’t eaten in a long while. He looked longingly at the pig food because nobody offered him food to eat. Suddenly a thought came to him – “How many of my father’s hired servants have food enough to spare and I perish with hunger?!” He was so sorry for what he had done. He regretted every single one of his bad choices. In his heart, he knew that his decisions had been self-centred and wrong. He decided that he would go back to his father to apologise and beg his father to let him be a hired servant. He knew exactly what he was going to say – ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants’
He set off on his way back to his native land and to his father’s home. His father was about his business and out of the corner of his eye noticed a shadowy figure in the distance. He recognised the outline of this person, the way he walked – it was him, it was his son, his son was heading home! The father recognised his son even while he was still a great way off. His father felt compassion for his boy. His heart leapt within and he ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.
The son was so ashamed of himself and his choices and actions. He was kneeling before his father dressed in rags and smelling rather badly, due to being a pig farmer for quite some time. He knew he needed to apologise and ask to be a servant. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he began – “ Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But before the son could say another word, his father jubilantly asked his servants to bring out the best robe to put on his son, a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. He also asked for a fatted calf to cooked so that could celebrate! His father declared “This is my son who was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” The celebration began, there was feasting and music and dancing.
The older son was out in the field and didn’t know his younger brother had returned home. He heard music and dancing so asked a servant what was going on. When he learned why everyone was celebrating he burned with anger and would not enter the celebration.
His father came outside to his older son. He pleaded for him to come inside and join in the festivities for this wondrous occasion. The older son listened in silence then said to his father “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood, you killed the fatted calf for him.”
His father replied, “My son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
Praise God the Prodigal Son returned home to his father. Even after he made many mistakes, he returned to his father and asked for forgiveness – and how quick was his Father to forgive him!
Remember kids, God is always faithful. He loves us and waits for us even when we choose to walk away from him. What a loving God we serve!