The Parable of the Two Lost Sons



 (Luke 15:11–32)

For a son to ask for his inheritance before the death of his father was a severe cultural offense, equivalent to wishing for the father’s death. The lost son ended up in the worst of circumstances from a Jewish point of view: a place where even unclean pigs were faring better than he was. The father’s extravagant mercy turned out to be as far-reaching as the son’s offenses. The story turns near the end, when the older brother refused to join the party, revealing that he was as lost as his younger brother. This parable probably was meant to illustrate the self-righteous attitudes of observant religious people who felt entitled to the kingdom because they “never disobeyed” (Luke 15:29). Jesus left the parable unresolved, forcing his listeners to see themselves in the story.

What did this parable teach you about mercy?

Taken from NIV First-Century Study Bible


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Get ’em Through It


If you find [wisdom], there is a future hope for you. Proverbs 24:14

A waitress once recognized me (JCD) when I came into the restaurant where she worked. She was a single mother and wanted to talk about her twelve-year-old daughter, who had been a struggle to raise. “We have fought tooth and nail for this entire year,” she said. “We argue nearly every night, and most of our fights are over the same issue. She wants to shave her legs, but I feel she’s too young.” My response? “Lady, buy your daughter a razor!”

That twelve-year-old was paddling into a time of life that would rock her canoe. As a single parent, this mother would soon be trying to keep her rebellious adolescent away from drugs, alcohol, sex and pregnancy, early marriage, school failure, and the possibility of running away. In that setting, it seemed unwise to make a big deal over such a small issue as shaving. While I agreed with the mother that adolescence should not be brought on prematurely, there were higher priorities to consider.

Scripture says that “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established” (Proverbs 24:3). Those same qualities should be applied to raising families. It takes both wisdom and understanding to know when to tighten your grip and when to loosen it. In the case of hardheaded kids floating toward the rapids in the teenage years, the wisest approach may be to simply get ’em through it.

Before you say good night…

Are you focusing on the matters that most affect your kids’ welfare?

Do you always seek God for wisdom and understanding in your parental decisions?

Father, may we keep our focus on those things that are most important to the well-being of our children. May our discernment be equal to the task. Most of all, help both of us to keep our eyes upon You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.