One of the main reasons why Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (perhaps better called the parable of the two sons) is so well-known and well-loved is that it has multiple points of self-identification. Most of us know the taste and feel of rebellion against God and can identify with the prodigal son, throwing money around in vain search of fulfillment. Perhaps you have been the “good” son, sniffing at the sins of others.
Or maybe you resonate with the generous, grieving, patient father. Do you have a wild child? Or maybe you are close to somebody who does. I am struck by how many people I know who have adult children who have been in jail, are alcohol or drug abusers, are hopelessly in debt, have children out of wedlock, can’t hold a job, or who have abandoned the faith of their childhood. Normal discussions don’t seem to work—they just devolve into arguments and withdrawal. What to do?
I don’t have any easy answers, and you probably don’t either. If we did, there wouldn’t be any prodigals. Here are ten suggestions:
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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