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IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE by Rev Dr Henry Alloway PhD 20

The following is a letter from the prodigal son to his former employer at the pig ranch where he had been employed.

Dear Sir:

First, I want to apologize for having left your ranch without even giving you advance notice about it. The truth of the matter is that I just could not stand my condition any longer. You remember that when I came to ask for a job, I looked terrible. I was wearing ragged clothing, I was hungry, all my former friends had deserted me, I felt very much alone. I was thankful that in your mercy you gave me an opportunity to work for you. The job you gave me; feeding the pigs, was the only job you had available, and I am sure that the way I looked it was questionable that I could even handle that job. Your wages for that job was equal to what everyone else paid, but it was not enough for me to satisfy my hunger. I was hooked on a habit that took a good portion of my money and by the time I satisfied that need, just to have strength to continue my work, I found myself eating some of what I was feeding to the pigs.

Maybe you’ve seen others do that, too, but all the time I was doing it, I kept thinking about my home. I had grown up with a good father and mother. In my Father’s house we always had what we needed, and even many luxuries that many people do not have. The only thing about living in my Father’s house was that he demanded our respect. He taught us how to live and even though he was not forcible, he would confront us with those things that he thought would be destructive to us. I admit, that I got to the point where I thought he was a fuddy-duddy, I didn't want to live by his rules anymore. (Actually, I was already violating many of his teachings without his apparent knowledge - but I was really feeling hypocritical). Then one day I confronted him and told him that I was tired of living under his authority, I wanted to leave. He gave me my rightful part of what he had, and I left. I was really having a good time with all of my friends until my money ran out. Then all my friends ran out on me. I guess that was the first hard lesson I ever had to learn that many people like you just because of what you can do for them. When I would ask them for something, they had nothing for me. How different this was from my Father’s love.

Then I came to your house and you had mercy on me and gave me a job. I am so thankful -- but even the job was such drudgery, the smell so distasteful. After what I had known in my Father’s house, the very conditions made me sick. I didn’t know what I could do but the memories of my Father’s house were so vivid, so beautiful, I wanted to go back home. I finally decided that even though I had no right to return, I would go and ask if I could be a servant. I knew that servants in my Father’s house were well-treated, well-paid, well-fed and I could be close to the one who had given me more than all the rest of the world put together.

Now, I didn’t feel worthy to go back, and I knew that if I were rejected, it would be what I deserved -- but I had to find out -- is it possible to go back, I asked myself.

With a bit of fear I left your fields and I started home. At my Father’s house there is a long lane with trees on both sides. As I turned down that lane, I saw the door burst open and my Father came running toward me. There were tears on both our cheeks as we embraced. I started telling him, “Dad I have done such terrible wrong, but I just wanted to know if I could come back and be a servant.” By that time some servants were coming out and he said with much rejoicing – “We are going to have a big party, kill the fatted calf and barbecue it, bring my best robe and give to him to replace these old rags, and he then put a ring on my finger, and kissed both dirty cheeks, and through his tears, he said, “This my son was lost, and is found. He was dead but now he is alive.”

Maybe this will help you to understand why I never came back, but I wanted you to know. Everything is so beautiful here at my dad’s house – oh, we have a few problems - my brother didn’t agree with my Dad, but Dad says he’ll work that out too, if we’ll just give him the chance. God bless you and thanks for your mercy.


The former prodigal

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