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Monday, September 3, 2012

Prodigal and Prodigy: Two Kids Who Left Home

Modern Day Prodigal Son
Two 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.

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

Carpe Diem

Prodigal and Prodigy: Two Kids Who Left Home

By 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.

The Prodigal

When you leave home, sometimes you're not looking very far down the road. The famous prodigal son of Luke’s Gospel left home demanding much more than he had coming and heading out for a good time right now. Unbelievably, the father gave the son what shouldn’t have come until the father’s death. With primo bucks from premature inheritance, the young prodigal set out.

Brantley Gilbert - Modern Day Prodigal Son

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... 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 Prodigy

Then 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.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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 Trip

Two 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!


How's your road trip shaping up?

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  1. Well, I will post on here :-) as always Evan, a wonderful blog. It is true how much of a forgiving God, a merciful God, a God full of Grace. For Him alone I am grateful.
    I am the disgrace in the family. I know this. I am ok with this as well. So, my roadtrip in life, has been ups and downs. Through each and every experience God has been there making sure I am safe. (and there are times I am unsure of how I survived, through Christ alone). Everyday I wake, to a beautiful new day, a wonderful son, and a God that loves me. I have failed so many times, and God is right there helping me through. My son is a my cheerleader in life. What more could I want? Took many years, though these past roughly 8 - 10 I have grown so much in Christ, I try to be there for others, not saying that life is a rainbow everyday. I know there is much more to grow, and I am so thankful that I have a loving son, and God full of Grace.

  2. Great comment, Tara. Yep, a God full of grace. I think grace wipes out disgrace. We all have our moments of shame and failing. Part of your grace package is a son who loves you and believes in you. How awesome! Thanks for how you pay it forward in the grace department!

  3. Thanks Evan! I know that all of my disgrace and shame, failing is all part of who I am today. It may sound weird, though I believe I would not be who I am for not what I have done and gone through in life. For our roadtrip as you say, it never a straight line, it is our growing into who we are suppose to be. Sure some do take a striaght line to some degree. Others, we have a more curvy ups and downs and even a little off roading in some parts. Through it all, faithful friends, family and an amazing God that is love, sees us through it all. I am blessed myself to have a few wicked friends, an amazing son, that as you said, believes in me. A very forgiving God that loves me no matter how many off roading trips I take in the time.
    Thank you for your kind words. Though I am unsure what you mean, it is a beautiful comment. For how can we tell or show others our God's Grace, without living it ourself? Thank you so much for all your prayers! You rock my friend!

  4. I've been spending some time in Ecclesiastes lately. I kinda wish God had given me the wisdom and understanding of this book when I was still a teenager. Taken from the words of the wisest man to ever live, Solomon, "everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind". A man who chased everything to find some meaning in life apart from God. Pleasure, women, wine, work, wealth, popularity, children, great accomplishments, even wisdom is utterly meaningless.
    Every human birthed in existence has a God shaped hole inside them. There is nothing at all that has or ever will exist that can fill it other than God. Take it from me; I tried many times to fall away from God and content myself with other things, and it never worked. Never.
    My advice echoes Solomon's advice. "Remember God in your youth. Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator." Don't get so wrapped up in what you are doing that you forget that God gave you your talents and intelligence to be able to do those things. A good relationship with God is more precious than all the precious things in the world. A close relationship with God is worth more than all the money in the world. All wealth comes from Him anyways. God will always be there, even when your best friend isn't.

  5. Inthestead, great story! Here's to what God's doing in your life!