Matt bounced over to where his dad and sister were weeding their garden. “Dad, Luke asked me to spend the night at his house Friday. We are going to the fair, and I’m going to need money. Can I have my all my allowance for the month now?” Normally, Matt’s dad would give him only part of the allowance each Saturday, but Matt wanted to have lots of money when he went over to Luke’s house.
His dad straightened, brushing dirt from his hands. He tugged his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out the money. Before he handed it to Matt, he gave him a firm look. “Remember, Matt, you need to save part of this to put in the collection plate at church each week and part to put in the bank. You can’t spend all of it.”
Matt nodded, eagerly snatching the money. “Thanks, Dad!” He dashed off to tell Luke.
Friday night, Matt and Luke did every ride they could. They ate lots of junk food until they felt sick and buzzed around the fair until they were dizzy. Matt had so much fun that he forgot to watch how much he was spending. By the time he and Luke left, Matt had spent all of his money. Every last penny had been used up.
Matt could barely sleep that night thinking about it. He didn’t want to return home Saturday morning and have to tell his dad that he’d spent all the money he was supposed to save. In the morning, Luke’s mother made them pancakes and sausages, but Matt couldn’t eat anything. His stomach churned with too much guilt and too much junk food.
Luke’s dad brought him home and dropped him off in his driveway. Matt trudged up to the house, his head hanging, his legs shaking. Would his dad be angry? Would he be punished?
Matt’s dad was out in the garden again. He stood and walked towards Matt, smiling. “Did you have fun?”
Matt nodded, but he blinked at tears. He would have to confess. “Dad, I spent all the money. I’ll work extra hard around the house, and I’ll weed the garden all by myself, and anything else you want me to do.”
Matt’s dad knelt in front of him. “I’m disappointed. I trusted you to be wise with your money.”
Matt hung his head, blinking at tears. He had been very foolish. “I won’t do it again.”
His dad hugged him. “I know.”
Matt’s stomach rumbled. It was almost time for lunch, and he hadn’t eaten much for breakfast. His dad stood and smiled. “Let’s see if Mom get can you something to eat, okay?”
Matt walked beside his dad to the house. Matt wanted to do something to show his dad that he was thankful. He spotted the garden. “Dad, after lunch, can I help you weed the garden?”
His dad grinned and patted him on the shoulder. “Of course, son.”
Questions to think about:
- Read Luke 15:11-32 by yourself or with your parents. How was Matt like the younger son in the story? Are you ever like Matt?
- Look up the word prodigal in the dictionary. What does the word actually mean? Who was prodigal in the story? The son, the father, or both? How is God a generous father towards us?