Below is the relevant scripture in case you are unfamiliar with the parable or have not read it in a while and need a refresher.
Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘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. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 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.’”
This one opens with the younger son brashly asking for his stake of the inheritance while his father is still alive. His arrogance and confidence are evident in the request. He is not the firstborn, so is eager to set out on his own, travel foreign lands in search of adventure, and make a name for himself. I like this kid so far. The only problem: he is a millennial and doesn’t have any accomplishments of his own and is living off the sacrifice, hard work, and largess of his father.
Now to be certain, the father recognizes all this in him and knows some men just have to learn the hard way. He is eager to break free, but in his immaturity, lust easily derails his sacred purpose and he quickly blows his money on food, drink, and prostitution. Through his natural penchant for game, he could most likely recover from these poor choices, but in his lack of wisdom and experience, set nothing aside in case of emergency.
Of course Jack Murphy’s Law immediately strikes and there is a severe famine in that land. He isn’t a completely worthless sack of soy and takes the only job he can find instead of begging on a street corner with a “homeless vet” sign or accepting one of King Herod’s EBT cards. Filthy, starving, and exhausted he doesn’t despair, blame privilege, commit suicide, go on a mass shooting spree, or start elixir of Prozac; he mans up and comes to his senses.
In humility, he realizes he should never have behaved like such a Chad and sets out in utter repentance to beg his father’s forgiveness. But his father, being a founding member of the Fraternity of Excellence, knew all along what was in his son’s heart and is overwhelmed with compassion, joy, and pride in the new man standing before him. The son cries out that he has sinned against both heaven and his father and is not worthy to be called his son.
But the father immediately calls for a Feast of War in celebration. He had released a boy alone out into the dark world knowing he was unprepared; never expecting to see him again. But this son of his who was dead and lost to him was now alive and ready to claim his sacred purpose along side him as a man.
Meanwhile, the older son, who quite honestly chose the proper path, is pissed at his father’s response. In a bitter display of temporary self-righteous soy, he compares his path with that of his younger brother. The father states “Don Jr. I have shared everything with you. There are buildings with your name on them in several major cities. Your brother was dead and is alive, he was lost and now is found, was blind and now he sees. Together, we will make the kingdom great again.”
We are all prodigal sons adrift in the dark world. Yahweh sent his only begotten son Jesus to disperse the darkness and welcome us back home to the father’s house. There is work to be done. The harvest is huge and the workers are few. What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his birthright? Seek first the kingdom of Yahweh and everything else will be added unto you. Throw your brothers a rope and welcome them back into the fold.