He took his promised pay; hell-bent to show them that he could make it on his own. At first, maybe life was grand; money to spend and plenty of friends. But it wasn't until he lost it all that he realized just how lost he was. But while it took many steps for him to get to the place of real despair, I like to imagine his first step home.
He knew the awful stench that he'd been noticing every day wasn't coming from the pigs, and the memory of the house where he grew up was becoming far too distant. He stands, drives the shovel into the muddy slush and says, "I'm going home."
Maybe not to a foreign land, but spiritually and even physically, you and I have made decisions that have taken us away...
"I can go without reading my Bible each day. What can it hurt?"
"I don't have to go to church on Sunday to worship. I can talk to God on the golf course, in the gym or even from my chair."
"I pray all day, why do I need to carve out time to sit and listen to God?"
"My health is isn't worth protecting."
"I'm too far gone to try now."
"I'm too old. Nobody needs me at this point. What possible good can I do?"
"I work hard, so why not show off a little. I can be proud of my work. A little pride never hurt."
"I'm in the fitness industry, and to keep up with my social media competition I need to compromise in certain areas."
Before long, we're a long way off. But what I love about the story is that while his decisions made him a prodigal, no decision took away his title: son. Foolish? Yes. Poor decisions? Absolutely. But he was already forgiven, still family, forever blood. All he had to do was come home for the party.
For Discussion: What's your "first step" toward home look like? Like we said yesterday, we're all prodigals. Isn't God good to us?