The Hidden Lessons of the Prodigal Son

April 2, 2019

     Last weekend, I went to my church, and the Deacon talked about the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). And it is a well known parable about two sons. One which was obedient and followed his father's wishes, while the other son, who was the younger of the two, went off and squandered his inheritance on women, wine, and other earthly pleasures.  This second son, eventually lost everything, and ended up eating with the pigs. Only after he had found humility did he come back for forgiveness. Of course, the father was happy and forgave this son. In fact, the father was so happy, he threw a huge celebration in honor of the prodigal son. And thus, what is often preached about on this parable is the lesson of humility and forgiveness - the reconciliation with God - and God's love for each of us despite our transgressions. A great lesson indeed; as God's love for us is boundless.


But reading through this again, I found a deeper lesson - which God revealed to me. This lesson is rarely taught or spoken of.  When the father threw the celebration, the older obedient son became angry. It states:


      “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 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. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’


   “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.


What lesson do I see in these paragraphs? The older son did not recognize that he had everything he ever needed. Though it was within reach, he did not have the understanding to know that all was already given to him. In fact, both sons had everything they needed from the start.  Both sons were blind to this.  And though the older obedient son, did not sin, he was just as wasteful as the younger son. Why? 


The older son, took all he had for granted - and though obedient, never praised or gave thanks to his father.  The younger son, who wasted his inheritance, did not value what he had. Both took what their father gave them for granted. And when you take gifts for granted, you waste them.


The younger son, transgressed and lost everything. It was in his fall, he truly understood what was given to him. You see, sometimes God allows us to fall from Grace, so that we may truly understand what we have and the gifts given to us. 


I reflected on my own life, and I fell like the younger son, but also was blind like the older son. I was speaking to my mother and I told her that at times, I feel tired and scared. As I used to make more money in my job, but now being my own boss, I barely make ends meet. My mother reminded me that it was in my fall, that I found God, and that my faith grew in him.  She told me that though I have less money, you have something more - a relationship with God.


So the hidden lessons in this parable is that is easy to take the gifts of God for granted when there is no struggle - and so you must always give thanks for what you have.


But more importantly, when you fall and fail, and lose everything - this is when you truly begin to understand the value of your life and what was bestowed upon you. Whether that is family, friends, relationships, or just the Peace of God.


Yes, Easter and Lent is about the time of Reconciliation with God, but for me, it is also about understanding that I have plenty in my life - and it is enough to glorify and thank Him. When you begin to do this, then your Reconciliation with God can be complete. It is when you give your Thanks and Praise to Him, with all your heart, that God will hold you as his child once more - regardless of who you are, what you have done, and where you came from. 


And in closing, look at your life deeply and more profound - You may find that God has already given you all that you need! May His light always guide you and hold you close.


Victory Is Yours - Glory Is His

Elm Valle










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