PS2 – The Prodigal Son Sequel

by Andy Wood on July 12, 2010

in Five LV Laws, Gamblers, LV Alter-egos, Principle of Freedom, Tense Truths

(Here’s a parable that didn’t quite make it to the Bible.  It’s a follow-up to the story of the Prodigal Son.  In case you missed that first episode, you can find it by clicking here.)  

When last we heard from the Prodigal Son, his loving father, and his older brother, Dad was appealing to the older sibling to come join the party.

“All that I have is yours,” he was saying – which was technically true, since the younger brat had wasted all of his part of the inheritance.

By and by, life settled down.  The older brother continued to do well, and was admired by all for his performance.  The younger son got with the program – for the most part.  Occasionally his friends and family could see some of those old streaks of self-will-run-riot in him.  But for the most part, he lived in great gratitude for his father’s forgiveness and restoration.

Eventually, the father went the way of all flesh and died.  There at his bedside, the older brother made plans for a proper funeral, while the younger sibling sat on the edge of the bed and held his daddy’s hand.  He would never forget the day his father came running to meet his broken-down boy and welcome him home.

Much to the older son’s chagrin, the younger brother actually soiled his father’s memory by retelling that embarrassing story at the funeral – complete with a joke about the look on the fatted calf’s face that had all the mourners actually laughing.  All but one, that is.

Now fully in charge of the family estate, the senior son announced that there would soon be some changes in the way things were run.  Structure, order, compliance and efficiency were the new orders of the day.  Having no assets of his own, the once-prodigal was presented with a work contract, complete with generous performance incentives.  After all, the new boss reasoned, Dad would want me to see to it he was cared for.

Also in the contract were some clearly-detailed outlines of the consequences should the wild child ever fail to perform up to the agreed-upon standard, OR should he ever, even in his off time, return to the Badlands.  Not only would he be terminated for his current performance, he would also be fined and punished for all his previous prodigal offenses as well.

Over time, people marveled at the vast expanse of the family business, due to the older brother’s business acumen.  New technologies, clear structures, efficient manufacturing and distribution methods, close supervision, and a zero-tolerance policy for code violations made the family business the envy of the marketplace (and the fear of every employee).

Still, however, the senior son lived with an angry ache in his soul. The one thing he yearned for, and never seemed to attain, was the hearts of the people in both the family and the organization.  Even his own children seemed to love their fun-loving uncle at times more than their own father.

After some time passed, the family boss got exactly what he had been waiting for.  In a season of restless carelessness, the popular prodigal violated the terms of the contract (and in pretty grand style, unfortunately).  Despite his remorse, the boss made it clear – there were no exceptions to the written policies – even for family.  There would be no fatted calf, and certainly no party.  There would be a detailed (surprisingly detailed) listing of all the wild child’s offenses for all time.  And though he was given a generous parting arrangement, the perennial prodigal would never see the family business again.

After all… for God’s sake… rules are rules!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Chaffin July 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

It’s a crying shame how many “big brothers” exist in churches today––legalists who have no clue what the concept of grace is all about. Jesus called people like that “whitewashed tombs.” (Matt. 23:27)

Sharma July 13, 2010 at 8:24 am

Take heart, Eric, those walking in pride will be brought low. It is just God’s way of leveling things out.

Great post, Andy.

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