But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Prodigal and Prodigy: Two Kids Who Left HomeBy Evan Nehring
My road trip began on a gravel driveway in rural southern Manitoba. My first summer after high school grad was complete. Class of ’86, baby! My older sister, Sheri, and I were leaving for college in Minneapolis. The wood sidewall ’78 AMC Hornet was packed, the family was hugged, and we backed out before ascending the Pelican Lake hillside en route to Highway 23.
My mom cried.
The journey is from driveway to driveway. You hug your parents before you leave, and one day you’ll be the parent saying goodbye. One day, the hugged becomes the hugger.
The trick in making it from one driveway to another is what you become as a man or woman. The road is your path. Your destination is not just where you’re going; it’s what you become.
As the story goes, the son had a great time flinging his money about for wine, women and song. And when, predictably, the money ran out...
...so did the friends.
The young son found himself tending pigs and eating slop before realizing that his disrespected father would probably treat him better.
Though the older son couldn’t forgive little brother’s failures, the father could do nothing else. It’s a classic picture of the love of Father God, as we see the prodigal’s dad break all tradition and run to meet his son when he laid eyes on him down the road.
The ProdigyThen I think back to the Old Testament story of Joseph. Instead of disrespecting his father and storming out, he loved his father and was secretly sold by his brothers into Egyptian slavery. Then, instead of self-destructing, he lived in honorable service and rose ultimately to leadership in the Egyptian empire.
From pig slop to the Pharaoh’s banquet table. Awesome.
Rather than trashing his own privileged life, as the prodigal had done, he took a series of injustices and saw God turn them for the good. Joseph was faithful. Joseph had integrity. Cream always rises to the top.
When it came time to reunite with his heartbroken father, he had no need to beg for mercy like the prodigal son. Instead, he showed unparalleled mercy to his traitor brothers. He forgave them, blessed them, and brought his extended family into a season of peace and prosperity.
Two Kids Took the Road TripTwo kids left home, took the road trip. One disgraced the family name and burned rubber to get far away fast. The other left as a victim of his family and spent decades of his life working to return blessing and forgiveness.
To all the kids leaving home this weekend, or soon, a couple of thoughts:
- You can take the prodigal's road and run from the Father, only to return later and start over.
- Or you can take the prodigy's road and overcome every obstacle to see your unique gifts displayed to the world!