Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Call (A Parable)

Clayton Bloom sired three sons. Even before they had hardly grown, each of them turned away from their father, obsessed by a need to outdo his brothers. When they could, the brothers demanded their inheritances and left their father—each certain that with his talent and resources he would excel over his brothers.

Time passed and the three brothers failed in their quests. Each found himself separated from the others and severely destitute.

At the right time, the father went in search of his wayward boys to bring them home. He found his oldest in a stupor and lying in a ditch.

The father appealed to the man, “Come home my son, and I will give you rest. You will have your original job at twice the salary. And someday you, along with your brothers, will be given control over my estate.”

His son looked up through eyes half closed by contempt for his father and replied, “I don’t want your pity, Old Man. And I certainly don’t want your charity. I can care for myself. Go away and leave me alone!”

Reluctantly, the father left his oldest son in search of his brothers. Eventually he found his middle son, and appealed to him in the same manner he had with the man’s older brother.

The middle son didn’t answer his father right away, but thought, if I take the money, I can get myself cleaned up and go back to those guys who stuck me and make them sorry for underestimating me. The bums will soon be bowing to me, and I’ll be on top, again. “Sure, Pops,” the middle son said. “I’ll go back to work for you. Thanks, thanks a lot!”

After the father had sent his middle son home with instructions for the servants to care for him after he arrived, the father sought out his youngest boy. He found the young man worse off than his brothers. The father knelt beside his youngest son, and appealed to him as he did his two brothers. The man looked up at his father with weak eyes that welled with tears.

“Why should you be so kind to me after I brought you so much disgrace? I have despaired so long, Father. If you only knew how tired I am of it all. I hate my life. I have tried to console myself by remembering my home and you and my life there, but I couldn’t. I tried and tried but the memory was gone, so I convinced myself that it never really happened. I thought it was nothing but a dream. I went on even though deep down I knew it was pointless and ended here hoping to die. I didn't have the guts to kill myself. Now here you are. It wasn’t a dream after all. I want to go home. I’ll do anything to go back there. I’ll listen to you. I’ll do anything you say. Teach me, Father, so I can please you. I want to please you, but I've forgotten how. I should never have left home. How could I have been so stupid?”

The young man wept. The father reached out and pulled his son up out of the murky water and embraced him. He could feel his son’s bones beneath his dank, soiled, and tattered clothing. The son staggered and nearly collapsed out of his father’s arms. The father realizing how near death his boy was lifted the frail body over his shoulders and carried his son home.

A year passed, and the younger brother found the middle brother packing a suitcase.

"What are you doing?” the younger brother asked.

“I’m out of here, man,” the middle brother replied.

“But why? We have everything we could ever want right here. No one out there will ever love you and care for you as our Father does. You of all people should know that.”

The middle brother attending to his task answered, “This is too much like work. No thank you. You can have it.”

“What are you talking about?” the younger brother pleaded. “Father has given us servants to do all the real labor so we can complete our studies. Once that is done, father has promised to put us in charge of the whole estate—the house, the land, the livestock--everything!”

“That’s fine for you,” the middle brother said as he snapped the suitcase closed.“I got some old scores to settle.” He waved a thick wad of bills before the younger brother’s face, and then plopped it on top of others neatly stacked in a black attaché. “Besides,” the middle brother continued, “I know just how to parlay this money into some big bucks. Soon you will be working for me, little brother. And I’ll make it happen without all the sweat. I have all I need.”

The middle brother picked up his things and made for the door and stopped. Turning to face his younger brother he said, “Still, I can always use dedicated workers like you. Yes, you’ll be hearing from me, squirt.”

The younger brother watched his brother walk out of sight; he never looked back.


Jesus once said, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 [NET])


Jeff said...

I pray that when our Father reaches out to me I have the humility (strength? courage? sense?) to accept His gift!

Great story!