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Stories with a meaning

We all like to listen to stories. Even today, when many people have books and computers, it is good to listen to someone telling a story. Sometimes a person tells a story because they want to teach us something. We call this sort of story a ‘parable’. Some parables show us how to live in the right way, others explain something we should understand about life. ‘The lost son’ is a parable. It shows us how much God loves us, even when we have done things wrong. This story was first told by Jesus Christ to the people sitting around him.

The lost son

There was once a man who had two sons. The sons knew that, when their father died, they would each have half of all he owned – his money, his land, everything. One day the younger son went to his father and said, “I want you to give me all that I will have from you when you die. I want my money and I want it now.” The father did what his son asked. He gave him half of everything he had.Soon after this, the younger son left home with all his money and went to a country far away. There, he used every bit of his money in foolish and wrong ways. He made many ‘friends’ who liked to be with him because he had a lot of money. They were not real friends.

He had to feed pigs

It was not long before he had spent all his money. His ‘friends’ went away and left him. Then there was a famine in the country. The son needed work, but all he could find was a job feeding pigs. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pigs’ food. No-one helped him or gave him anything.One day, as he sat watching the pigs eat, he thought, “My father has many men working for him. They have all the food they need, but here I have nothing. I know what I will do. I will go back to my father. I will say to him, ‘I have been a bad son. I have done wrong to God and to you. I am not good enough to be your son any more. I will work for you as a servant.’” That day, the son left his work feeding the pigs and began his long journey home.

Father ran to meet him

He was still a long way from home when his father saw him coming. The father ran as fast as he could to meet his son. He was not angry with him, because he loved him so much. He put his arms around his son and kissed him. The son said to his father, “I have been a bad son. I have done wrong to God and to you. I am not good enough to be your son any more. I will be one of those men working for you.”

But the father was so excited that his son was home, he did not listen to these words. Instead, he called some of the en working for him and said, “Bring me the best clothes and put them on my son. Put a ring on his finger. Put shoes on his feet. Prepare the very best meal for him and we will celebrate. It was as though my son was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost but now he is found.”