The Return Home

[Original article in German]

In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son the younger son left home after receiving his portion of the paternal inheritance. Material sense conjured up before him pictures of happiness and success, and no thought of care troubled him. Nevertheless, vicissitude soon came. In this story we read that he "wasted his substance with riotous living," and that later on "he began to be in want." He squandered his goods and learned too late that he was not capable of supporting himself and of doing worth-while work.

Despite his mistakes and sins, the father's welcome awaited him. Even while he was far away the father's love reached out to him; but while he was self-confident and apparently happy, the prodigal did not see this love and had no desire for it. Not until lack, hunger, and repentance overcame him did he awake from the sense dream and despairingly reach out for his father's home.

What deep lessons are contained in this parable, for thus do events often seem to beset a mortal! In like manner he gets into situations where his possessions crumble away, and where loss, care, and despair seem to crowd in upon him. Did he take his goods—health, strength, and abundance—from his father's hand without thanks and consider them his personal property and inheritance? Did he believe that he could claim the privilege of being recognized and respected solely on account of these possessions? Thus human sense deceived him by making him proud and overbearing. And when, as a result of all this, he had become drunken and blind, it robbed him of his possessions, leaving him poor and despised.

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A Lesson in Perseverance
August 3, 1935

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