Retelling of Prodigal Son to be used as a sermon illustration.
|An old cowboy, who had been later in life called to the ministry, worried about his two boys as they were both unsaved. The oldest Roy had stayed with him at the ranch through the years while his youngest son Mark had been a drinker, a gambler and a womanizer.
Many years ago Mark came to his father and demanded his portion of his father's fortune. Though it grieved him terribly the old man gave his youngest son his portion of inheritance. His worst fear was soon realized, his youngest son gathered his gear and cleared out.
Now 89-years old the old man’s health was none too good. Over the years he had sent Roy out to find Mark and bring him home but Roy was unable to find Mark.
One day as the old man was sitting out on his front porch he saw a ragged man coming down the road.
There was something familiar about the way the fellow walked. "It can't be," he thought, "not after all these years." The old man continued to watch as the man drew closer. When he was about to turn down the road leading to his home the old man realized it was Mark!
Joy filled the old man’s heart and newfound strength came to his body. He jumped up from his seat and ran down the path in front of his house to embrace Mark.
“Boy, oh my boy, my son, you’ve come home!” He sobbed over and over as he held his son.
It soon became obvious that Mark too was sobbing. He was disheveled: His clothes were a mess and he severely needed a shower.
“Father,” Mark began, “I have done you wrong. I wasted everything you gave me. I lost a lot of it playing cards trying to increase my fortune, I wasted some of it on women and a lot of it drinking with "friends" who later deserted me." As he talked Mark's head hung low and he said "I even shot a man, I’m so thankful he lived but I was in prison for some time and unable to come home. Please forgive me. Would you take me back as a hired hand?”
“Oh my son, I am so glad you have come home!"
About that time Roy rode in from the fields and saw what was happening. He dismounted from his horse glaring at his brother.
“What are you doing here? How could you possibly come home? Do you know how long Dad and I searched for you? You're not welcome here.”
"Roy, be quiet." the father said.
The father took Mark inside, gave him fresh clothing, drew him a bath and told him he would be staying in his old room.
The father also told Juanita their cook to prepare her finest meal so they could celebrate that night.
Roy came into his father’s room while Mark was bathing.
“Look dad, he just doesn’t deserve this.”
“Yes, son. You’re right of course.”
“Why are you doing this then?”
“Why, do you really need to ask me why?” The father asked?
“Yes, I think you owe me that much. I have been here all these years. I have run this ranch. I went everywhere you sent me looking for that scoundrel. Now this son of yours comes home with his tail between his legs looking for a handout and you take him in and practically throw him a party. You’ve never even let me invite a few friends to dinner. How could you do this?"
“Roy, you have been my best friend ever since your mamma passed on. When I pass on you will inherit the ranch and everything. I didn’t know whether your brother was alive or dead. I had decided that he was probably dead but he isn’t. He’s here. He’s alive. He’s not just been found; your brother has come home.”