// the parable of the lost son (3)

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

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. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no-one gave him anything.

As he sat in the dirt, he spotted a figure approaching from the distance. As the figure got closer, he recognized his elder brother walking towards him. “Brother!” the elder son shouted from the distance, “I have come to bring you home!”

The elder brother drew close to his sibling and said, “Brother, I have come to fetch you home and restore honour to our family, as is my duty. If you come with me now, you will be welcomed back into the family and you can work alongside me in the family business. It will be as though all our shame will be redeemed!”

The younger brother looked up from where he was sitting, and to his brother’s shock, simply said, “no. I will not return with you.” The elder brother was dumbfounded, but he saw that his brother was resolved. So without a word, he respected his brother’s choice, turned from where he had come, and set off for the journey home.

The younger brother sat in the mud watching him go, wishing with all his heart that he had been able instead to see his Father coming to call him home, with tears of joy in his eyes.

So did the elder brother.

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