Last time, I promised you a story that would shed some light on the deeper meaning of “home”. You may be familiar with it.
Once upon a time, there were two brothers. Their father was a wealthy man who loved them both a great deal.
The older son was diligent and dutiful and helped to run the family estate. The younger son was more self-focused and may have done very little. Neither of the sons were happy or content in their hearts, but for very different reasons.
The younger son had been thinking for some time of the world away from home, everything it had to offer, everything he could experience. He became so obsessed with this that he did something you may have never heard of — he asked his father for his inheritance, right then, while he was still alive! Oddly enough, the father complied, and off the younger son went to fulfill his dreams.
The older son had no such illusion and, on the surface, appeared to be doing well. One day he would ably step into his father’s shoes. But when he was younger, a bitter seed began to grow in his heart. This seed was based on the lie that a man can become great because of what he does, of what he achieves, of whom he “becomes”. A very deceptive lie this is, and many have been taken in by it, remaining in bondage their whole lives.
It only took a short time for the younger son to spend his whole fortune on wine, women and song. A famine occurs in the land, and starving and destitute, he comes to his senses and crawls back home. The father is so overjoyed at his return, he does not even give the son an opportunity to explain, but instantly reestablishes him in the family. He loves him so much he only wants him home.
The older son’s discontent is exposed by his lack of regard for his brother’s condition, but especially his jealousy over his father’s joy and celebration. To console the older brother, the father tells him, “My son, 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.” 1
By the end of the story, it is apparent just how lost both sons are. Somehow just being with the father at home, sharing everything with him, and allowing themselves to be embraced by his unconditional love — was not enough for either son.
Some people believe this one little story tells the true history of humanity more accurately than any other story. As complex and confused as this life can be, could any single story be that meaningful, that encompassing? And this story in particular? Stay tuned. Next time we will explore these very questions.
1 Luke 15:31-32 NIV
Welcome, I'm Sam!
A fellow traveler on this journey we call life and this path we call the Christian faith, wanting to speak to anyone who will listen about the incredible things that God (only because of His incredible grace) chose to reveal to me. Stories have always been a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we only look more closely. We are all like the children of Israel in the wilderness, wanting and needing to establish ourselves in the promised land. Stories can help us to get there, and to flourish there.
I can't wait to get to know you!