The “prodigal son” story is really about “prodigal sons“.
Even the son who stays home, who works hard to please his father—to be just like his dad—can miss the nuances that make all the difference: It wasn’t the kind of business dad ran or its success, but (as the younger son recognized) how he treated his employees and those around him. It wasn’t the words he spoke, but why he spoke them…and to whom…and how.
It’s possible to live in the house and be far away. To emulate frozen stances rather than understand the movement of a person who runs, with no regard for public and familial shame, to claim those who were lost but now found and dead but now alive. It is possible to have the same accent but not the same voice, the same physical features but not the same heart. To share a name but not an identity.
I guess when we think about it the story wasn’t really about the sons that much at all. It was more about the heart of the dad all along…and missing that point makes all the difference.
Just some thoughts as I pondered this morning a son and his dad.