This is a modern day adaptation of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. I wrote this to incorporate in a message for my middle school students and thought I would pass it along.
There once were two brothers who lived on the rich side of town. Whatever there was to be had, they had it. They were the first to get the newest video games, the most expensive Mac computers, and the most coveted car in the high school parking lot. They had it all.
One day, the younger son got to thinking about how much money his dad really had. He began to imagine what he could do with not just the little trinkets that his dad had given him but with his whole half. He knew that one-day down the road when his dad finally died he would end up with half of the family money. So he got to thinking, “Maybe, I could work my way into the money now. It is mine anyway so I should have it when I want it. It is my right.”
So the younger son went to see his dad. He angrily told his father: “I know that when you finally die and are out of my life that I will get half of your fortune. I know that you only give me small trinkets of what is truly mine because you hate me and do not want me to have all the stuff and fun that I am entitled to. So, I want you to fork it over now since you are not looking like you are going to pass away anytime soon.”
The father was shocked and amazed at his son’s greed and hatred, but he decided to give in. After going to the bank and getting some things together, the father reluctantly gave his son his half. This caused the father not just financial hardship but also personal pain and loss over the son who had abandoned him and taken his acts of love on him and saw them as acts of hatred. He mourned the loss of his son so much more than the loss of his money.
The son immediately took off and began living the high life. He built himself a huge house, many cars, and gained many “friends.” He became a celebrity just because of his wealth and the crazy ways that he spent it. When MTV’s “Cribs” showed up at his door, the son knew that he had made it big. The life that his father had robbed him of had finally become his. He was who he was entitled to be.
Like many overnight celebrities, however, the son’s empire came crashing down. He had spent money so quickly that he had lost count of it. His credit cards became completely filled up along with his closets, garages, and house. When the bank came to collect, the son realized that he was out. What the son quickly found out is that his dream was over.
He now found himself out on the streets in the city that he once was the king of. He was now a poor beggar with nothing but the clothes on his back. His friends had quickly found someone else with money and connections to hang out with. He tried to get a job but because the economy was so bad there were no jobs to be found except that of a garbage man.
The son now found himself doing the smelliest job that he could have ever imagined. He was so snowed under in the money that he owed the bank that he could not afford to pay for food or a place to live. He began to scrummage through the bags, which he was paid so little to pick up. He would find random half eaten fruits and every once in a while some week-old leftovers.
The son quickly began to think. His dream of riches, fame, and popularity had quickly turned into a situation that was so bad that he could not have even imagined it. His life had become this way because of his hatred and rebellion against his father. He began to see the brokenness in his life and he began to mourn. He knew that he was a horrible son and that he had treated his father in a very hurtful and mean way.
As the son began to think about his father, he wondered what life was like at home. He could imagine his older brother sitting around the table with his mom and dad having a warm home-cooked dinner. He began to be able to taste the flavor of his favorite cookies that his mom used to make him. He began to long for home.
He wondered if he could ever come back to the table as a part of the family again. He knew that if he had been in his dad’s place that he could never have him back. He began to wonder. Was there any hope to be found? Maybe, he could just ask for the week-old leftovers before they hit the trash.
The son decided to drag himself home to see if there was any hope of some leftovers. He quit his job and walked to the interstate and stuck out his finger towards home.
Through the kindness of several truckers, he made his way back to his hometown. He walked from the interstate exit near his house to the neighborhood. After convincing the gatekeeper to the neighborhood that he was not a criminal, he began to make his way down the familiar neighborhood streets.
He finally arrived at the street where he had lived for so many years in a time that seemed so long ago. He could begin to see the big tree in the front yard that he and his brother used to play in as children towering in its place at the end of the cul-de-sac. He was getting closer.
The house slowly came into view. The son’s legs felt like they were about to snap in two as he got closer to the house. Part of him wanted to stop and rest but he knew that he had to know what would happen.
As the son got closer to the house, he saw his dad in his usual chair in front of the plasma TV in the living room. Just as he glanced into the window, his dad looked up from the TV and caught a glimpse of his son. The father immediately got up from his chair.
Many things began to run through the son’s mind. He is going to get his gun to shoot me for taking advantage of him. He is going to go get the paddle that he used to use on me as a child. He is going to grab the phone and call the cops to get this trespasser off of the property. But before these thoughts could finish running through the son’s head, the front door swung open.
He saw his father with arms wide open running out to hug his son. The prodigal son had returned and found that his father was there to love him and welcome him back into the family even before he could get out the words “I am sorry.”