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The Unfaithful Son

Updated on January 19, 2018

Life on a silver platter

There was a particularly productive man of great wealth; he earned it all from scratch – etching out a living for himself, his wife, his son, and their health. He built his own business and prospered in it. Possible it was then for his family to have everything they could ever want. He was generous, too, in giving it away to others – not hoarding it, but feeding the homeless, the poor, the needy.

His young son, however, was not the definition of the cliché “like father, like son;” perhaps the fault of having been handed everything on a “silver platter” – to be gobbled up with “silver spoons.” How he hated the chores his parents labored him with through his childhood, not realizing then all was for his good.

“Having it all,” he expressed to himself one day in early adulthood, “No need for me to work – such being boring anyway. I can just take my ease now, and eat, drink, and make merry.

Tall, dark, and handsome, his features were, boldly expressing every girl’s dream man, enabling him to wine and dine with the pretty women, anyone he so desired.

“Life is great now,” he thought, lounging in the hammock, sipping a cold refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Gone with wealth

By and by his father took ill, an unrecoverable illness. At the graveside, family and friends mourned the aged man’s passing.

“What would become of my father’s wealth now,” the son’s thought ringing through his mind, his frowning face sprouting a worried concern? “I’m the only heir,” he then realized. “I guess it’s all mine now, mom having passed away a year ago, and neither, like me, have had any siblings.” Ah, his inner countenance gleamed.

At the reading of the will, however, a rude awakening (in the son's mind) he had experienced. “Give it all to charity,” the attorney read. Handing an envelope to the son, the attorney read on, “To my son, this one manila envelope.”

With a puzzled glee, the son took it. Finishing with the attorney, he exited the office. Standing on the street corner outside that tall building, he speedily tore open the envelope; inside one slip of paper was found. Not liking what he read, however, he crumpled it up, stuffed it in his jacket pocket and down the road he trekked, head hung low.

Angered, saddened, the son walked on home, crossing the street. “I can’t afford a bus fare,” he said to himself. “I have nothing, nada, zilch; my father thought of me as such.”

Realizing the true riches

Beep, beep; honk, honk; screech, crash. Whirr-r, the ambulance rushed hurriedly the son – crushed, bruised, and beaten – to the nearest hospital.

“God has certainly been with you, young man,” the attending physician spoke to the now awakened yet still hurting son. “You could have died.”

“Maybe I should have,” the son groaned, lying there on that hospital bed still experiencing the pain.

“You must not say that,” the physician responded. “Your time here apparently is not yet finished. God cares for you, and evidently still has a purpose for you here.”

“God?” the son asked, “Cares for me? Um, that’s more than I can say for my father.”

“Ah, I’m sure your earthly father has cared for you more than you realize,” the physician said. “But trust God,” he went on. “He cares for you more than you can ever imagine. Keeping you alive now, after what you have gone through, He must want to give you a second chance.”

“A second chance, with nothing, and for what? Yeah, right. You should have let me die.”

“We’re here in this hospital,” the physician responded, “to save lives not take lives. We’re to make you well that you may move on. Here, young man,” the physician concluded, handing the son a crumpled up piece of paper.”

“What’s that?”

“The wrinkled note found in your jacket pocket.”

“Oh,” the son said, taking the paper. Opening it up, he stared.

“Read it out loud, please,” the physician said. “Curious myself, I read it. But I would like to hear it from your lips.”

The son read those words, what his father had shared with him so many years ago, “ ‘One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?’ Luke 16:10-11

“Okay, so what. That’s what my father thinks of me. He died but left me no inheritance. I’m broke, busted. No more fun. Just let me die, please.”

“Think about it,” the doctor challenged, “and how you can become that faithful person your father, and God would have you to be. In Him, the real ‘fun’ has just begun, son.”

© 2015 Charles Newcombe


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