The Prodigal Son
by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards
"Why do I always have to do all the work?" Mark grumbled as he hung his shirt in the closet. "Mark, clean your room. Mark, go get the mail. Mark, fold the towels. That's all I ever hear around here! I never get to have any fun. I never get to do the things I want to do."
Mark picked up a few of his favorite little toys and shoved them in his pockets. While he was finishing up his chores, he had come up with a plan, and he was ready for a great adventure.
He crept around the corner into the kitchen and sneaked quietly out the back door, thinking no one would ever know he was gone. He wandered along the well-worn dirt trail through the woods and finally came to the little grassy clearing near the creek, which was one of his favorite "secret" spots.
"A-H-H-H, this is just GREAT!" he thought. "Now I can do anything I want to do and nobody can make me work. I'll just stay here and have FUN, FUN, FUN."
He watched ants crawl over a rock and tried to block their path with a stick.
After tiring of that game, he pulled his yo-yo out of his pocket. How wonderful he felt being free!
Then he leaned back against a large boulder and watched the clouds drift lazily by. He usually enjoyed looking at the clouds with his sister Jill. They liked to see the funny shapes the clouds made. "Hey, that one looks like an elephant!" he exclaimed out loud, for a moment forgetting that he was alone. One of the clouds almost looked like a rabbit. Another looked like a big fish. But it wasn't nearly as much fun without someone to share the excitement.
Mark found himself getting tired, and it seemed to be getting darker. He decided to lie down on the cool soft grass and rest. It was nice for little while, but then it became uncomfortable. No matter how he turned, the ground was hard...and he didn't have a pillow...or a blanket.
Then he heard his stomach growling. "I'm getting REALLY HUNGRY," he said. But, of course, there was no one to hear his complaint.
The woods were becoming darker and darker. He was getting hungrier and hungrier. Then he heard a strange screeching noise. "What was THAT?" he thought fearfully.
"THERE IT IS AGAIN."
"I know what I'll do. I'll just have to go back home. I'll sneak in the back door. Mom always has cookies in the cookie jar, and I have a nice, soft, comfortable bed waiting for me. No one will ever know I've been gone."
With fear gripping every step, he ran down the trail toward home. He had never realized how scary the woods could be at night. His family had been down that trail often to go to the clearing to look at the stars. It hadn't seemed scary at all then. He knew he had only a few more steps to go.
"Will I be able to get in the house?
What if the doors are already locked?
I wonder if they missed me?"
All sorts of thoughts and questions were going through his mind as he took the last few steps out of the woods and into his backyard. To his relief, he saw that the porch light had been left on. Then he heard voices: "THERE HE IS! THERE HE IS!" Jill said with joy and excitement.
His father ran down the steps and scooped Mark up into his arms and gave him a big bear hug and a kiss. His mother met them at the top of the steps and joined in the hug, and Jill was squealing and jumping with joy to see her big brother come back home.
"Umm.... Hey, Dad. I know that you have quite a bit of money put aside for our inheritance so that we will be well taken care of after you die. I was just wondering if there was some way you could divide it up and give me my portion now. You see, I'm tired of living here. I have BIG plans for the future. I want to go away from home and live a good life. I want to make a name for myself. And I want to do it all while I'm still young enough to enjoy it. I don't want to have to wait until I'm old and you die. What do you think? Can you do that for me?"
With shock and disbelief, the father looked sorrowfully at his younger son. The question his son had just asked hurt him terribly. Of course, he didn't want him to leave home. He loved his son dearly and would miss him greatly. But because of that great love, and because he didn't want to hurt and disappoint his son, he made arrangements for the inheritance to be divided while he was still living.
A few days later, the younger son gathered all his belongings, took his money, and started on his journey to a country far away. He made a lot of friends and was having a grand time. Almost every night there was a party somewhere. Since he had so much money from the inheritance, he treated his friends with nice dinners and fancy clothes. It seemed that EVERYBODY loved him. And it seemed like the money would never run out....
But it did!
One day he realized he was out of money. ALL the inheritance was GONE. "Well, that's okay," he thought. "I still have lots of friends, and they will still let me go to their parties." He did go to a few more parties, but when his friends found out that he couldn't help pay for the expenses, they quit inviting him. Then his friends deserted him altogether.
"We don't want to hang around with THAT loser," they said to one another. "Yeah, he has become a real bum."
Penniless, friendless, and homeless, he decided he had to get a job. He looked and looked but there were just no jobs available for a young man who had grown up in a wealthy home and had no skills. Finally he walked up to a farmer. "With all that land and all those animals, there must be SOMETHING I can do for you to earn some money," he begged.
The farmer felt sorry for the young man and finally said, "Well, if you will feed the pigs for me, I can let you sleep in the barn." The younger son was desperate, and even though feeding pigs was a dirty, despicable job, he decided to do it.
Now, all he was getting out of this deal was a place to sleep and very little money. He wasn't earning enough to even feed himself well. He found himself getting hungrier and hungrier. Even the PIGS were eating better than he was.
He began to think about his father and his home. The servants at his father's house were well taken care of. They had comfortable beds and ate good food.
Suddenly, he had a thought.
"I know what I'll do! I'll go back to my father's house. I can't go back and ask for my old room, and I can't ask to live as part of the family, because I dishonored my father by taking the inheritance. BUT...maybe he will feel sorry for me, and let me have a job and live with the servants. Even THAT would be better than living in a cold, drafty barn, feeding pigs!"
The son started on his journey home. "I wonder if he will take me back? I am so dirty and clothed in rags. I wonder if he will even know who I am?"
It was a long hard journey as he was trudging along, trying to think of what to say when he finally arrived at his father's house. He knew the road so well. He knew he was getting closer. Just around the corner, he would be able to see the walls of the city. With fearful anxious steps he continued on.
Then with surprise and amazement, he saw his father. Not only was his father there outside the city gate, he was running toward him! He recognized him! His father grabbed him with wide-open arms and hugged him. Then he kissed him. He was so happy to see his son!
He tried to apologize to his father, saying he was terribly sorry for dishonoring him and asking if he could please just have a job like one of the servants. But his father wasn't even listening. He was so thrilled to have his son back home, he began shouting orders to his servants who had gathered around.
"Bring the best robe, and put it on him!" He said to one servant.
Turning to another he said, "Put a ring on his hand...and get a pair of shoes to put on his feet!"
The servants were buzzing with excitement, trying to obey all the orders of their master. The crowd was getting bigger, as more and more people heard that the son who ran away had finally come home.
The father had to shout even louder above the roar of the crowd. "Go find the fattest calf we have, kill it, and prepare it for roasting. My son who was lost is found! WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A PARTY AND EVERYONE IS INVITED!" The roar of the crowd was becoming noisier as more people heard the good news and joined in the excitement on their way to the big celebration feast. There was happy music, singing, and dancing. Everyone was having a great time.
Everyone except...the older brother.
He heard the crowd and all the noise and called to one of the servants: "Hey, what's happening? What is all the commotion about?"
"Why, haven't you heard?" he asked in surprise. "Your brother who has been gone so long has returned, and your father is having a big party!"
This news did NOT make the older brother happy at all! He was jealous and angry. After all, HE was the one that stayed home. HE helped run the ranch. HE honored his father. HE did what was good and right. If ANYBODY deserved a party, it would be HIM, NOT his younger brother who wasted his inheritance and turned into a dirty bum!
Immediately the older brother went to have a talk with his father. "This just isn't right!" he said. "I've been here all along helping you anytime you needed it, but you never gave ME a party."
"OH, MY SON!" his father exclaimed. "YES, you have been here all along, and everything I have belongs to YOU. Anytime you wanted a celebration, all you had to do was ask. I would have gladly given you a party.
"But now, please join in our happiness. Let's go celebrate because your brother has finally come home."
Our Heavenly Father's love follows us wherever we may go.
- Why did the father agree to let the younger son have his inheritance?
- Why did the father accept the son back into the family after he had acted so badly?
- What was the reaction of the older son concerning his brother returning home?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10).
Dear God, thank You for loving me so much that
even when I do wrong and do not honor You,
Your love never runs out and You are willing to forgive me.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Bible Verse Coloring Page
Parables of Jesus (Bible Colour and Learn)
The Prodigal Son Coloring Book (Reproducible)
Bible Story Coloring Pages V2 (Reproducible)
New Testament Bible Story Cards Coloring Book
My Bible Coloring Book (Shirley Dobson)
Children's Coloring Books
Smart Coloring Books
Party for the Prodigal (Donut Man After School DVD)
The Prodigal Son (Let's Sing Sing Sing)
Action Bible Songs (Cedarmont Kids)
Bible Songs on CD
100 Singalong Songs For Kids (Cedarmont)
25 Favorite Sunday School Songs (includes Fishers of Men) (Veggie Tales)
Parables, Miracles and the Prince of Peace: The Gospel Part 1 (Manga Bible)
The Prodigal Son (Arch Books)
Prodigal Son (Read-A-Long Sing-A-Long)
The Boy Who Left His Home (Read-A-Long Sing-A-Long)
The Prodigal Son by George Hodges
Parables of Jesus (Amazing 3D Bible Stories)
Pop-Up Parables and Other Bible Stories
The Lost Son: Beginners Bible (I Can Read)
365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories (Barbour Publishing)
Awesome Book of Bible Stories for Kids
Pilgrim's Progress for Kids
365 Activities For Kids:
A Bible Story And Activity For Each Day Of The Year
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs w/2 CD
Baby's First Bible
Bible In Pictures For Toddlers
Early Reader's Bible
Five Minute Devotions for Children (ages 4-8)
Little Hands Story Bible
The Children's Illustrated Bible
The Preschoolers Bible
Pilgrim's Progress for Kids
Spanish Children's Books
The Picture Bible (my children's favorite!)
Prodigal Son (Bible Animated Classics)
Prodigal Son (Read-A-Along Sing-A-Long)
Paradise Parables: Scripture Teaching Cartoons (Casscom Media)
The Story of Jesus for Children
Story of Jesus for Kids (Casscom Media)
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (listen & watch online)
Bible Verse Scramble
Prodigal Son Maze
Parable Puzzlers: Word Puzzles from Jesus Parables
Amazing Bible Mazes
Best Book of Bible Activities
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Childrens Ministry
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
Memory Verse Games for Kids (Take Me Through the Bible Series)
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles (Reproducible)
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1 (Gospel Light Big Books)
More Bible Time with Kids
Christian and educational toys
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Create and Take Bible Crafts: Parables and Miracles
Draw 50 People from the Bible
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 6-8)
Bible Crafts On A Shoestring Budget (Ages 5-10)
Big Book of Bible Crafts (Ages 3-12)
Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Praise God With...Craft Series
Praise God with a Paper Plate (PreK-Grade 2)
Really Big Book Of Cool Crafts For Kids w/CD-Ages 4-12 (Reproducible)
Children's Crafts & Hobbies
Bad Boy (Prodigal Son) Children's Sermon
Kids' Travel Guide to the Parables - Children's Ministry Lessons
Legends of Faith Vol. 13: Parables of Jesus (stunning Bible images) (Legends of Faith Curriculum)
On the Way 9-11s Book 3
The Prodigal Son Activities
The Prodigal Son Lesson and Crafts
The Prodigal Son - worksheets (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Exploring the Miracles & Parables (Scripture Pictures)
Bible Memory Games (Creative Bible Activities for Children)
Bible Story Coloring Pages (Reproducible)
30 New Testament QuickSkits for Kids
801 Questions Kids Ask About God (Focus on the Family)
African American Resources
Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher (Bruce Wilkinson)
Bible Crafts and Activities for Any Story
Big Book of Bible Games (Gospel Light)
Bulletin Board helps
Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul
Children's Church Resources
Church Nanny Sos: Teaching Discipline Essentials for Preschool Ministry Volunteers
Edible Object Talks That Teach About Jesus (Edible Object Talks)
52 Games That Teach The Bible
Flannel Graph Story Sets to Purchase
Free educational videos
God's Servants Teach Me (Instant Bible Lessons)
God's Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs
Help! I'm a Sunday School Teacher (Focus on the Family)
Hermie Scripture Memory
How To Lead a Child To Christ
King James Version Award Bibles
Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings
Lord Teach Me To Pray For Kids (Kay Arthur)
Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
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Power Point Presentations of Various Bible Stories
Pray & Play Bible for Young Children
Resources for Teachers
Seven Laws of the Learner (Bruce Wilkinson)
Sunday School Attendance Boosters: 165 Fresh Ideas
Sunday school resources
Talking to God (Instant Bible Lessons)
Teachers' Reproducible Classroom Pages
Teaching Children Memory Verses Ages 4-5
Teaching Children To Pray Ages 4-5
Teaching to Change Lives (by Howard Hendrickss)
The Big Book of Bible Skits
Things To Make Craft Activities
20 Bible Verses Every Child Should Know /CD (Heritage Builders)
Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know
(by Elmer Towns)
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