11 And He said, “A man had two sons.
12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his [a]wealth between them.
13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.
15 So he went and [b]hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the [c]pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
17 But when he came to [d]his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!
18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and [e]in your sight;
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’
20 So he got up and came to [f]his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and [g]embraced him and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;
23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;
24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’
28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.
29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never [h]neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;
30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your [i]wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you [j]have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
Initially we could say this is about a selfish and jealous child and I am sure that's how some people see the other brother. But he's not, he's hurt and confused. It's not that he doesn't live his brother or isn't happy he's home, it's that he suddenly feels unappreciated. That his hard work was for nothing. Fortunately Dad puts a stop to that.
We, as part of the Christian community and the world all tend to forget the unProdigal Son. We forget, being a Christian is hard. Finding Christ and accepting Him into your life is the easy part. The hard part is staying on the path of righteousness. Offtimes, the faithful are forgotten. Not by God, no He welcomes them into His embrace. Offers them comfort and solice. It's the rest of us who fail.
When we see someone who has fallen from grace, we rush to embrace him, the farther they fall, the bigger our pig (to roast) is. We oooooo and we ahhhhh impressed with their strength. While ignoring those who have stood fast in their faith. Shoot, the world openly mocks them. Even (or rather especially) our "Christian" Nation. In fact it seems we Americans are the hardest on our Christians. We are supposed to support those of other faiths, respect those who choose to disbelieve entirely (no matter how loud they clamour). We have to quietly stand by as our Christian nation falls into the hands of unbelievers. At least that is what our society says. After all everyone knows all the earth's problems were brought on by white European Christian men. Obviously the world would be a eutopia if only..
So while they bend over backwards to welcome just about anyone who believes in anything other than Christ, they mock us. But be faithful because no matter the ways of the world, God will provide for us and we will abide with Him forever.
I, myself have stumbled and left the path only to return years later but I wanted to show my appreciation to the faithful. The path may be hard but your travels have been noticed.
*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.