A Parable of A Prodigal Father

A certain man had two sons, and the younger son then said to his father: "Father, give me the portion of thy time and thy attentions and thy companionship and thy counsel which falleth to me." And he divided unto them his living in that he paid the boy's bills and sent him to a select preparatory school and to dancing school and to college and tried to believe that he was doing his full duty by the boys.

And not many days afterward, the father gathered all his interest and aspirations and ambitions and took his journal into a far country, into a land of stocks and bonds and securities and other things which do not interest a boy; and there he wasted his precious opportunity of being a chum to his own son. And when he had spent the very best of his life and had gained money, but had failed to find satisfaction, there arose a mighty famine in his heart; and he began to be in want of sympathy and real companionship. And he went and joined himself to one of the clubs of the country; and they elected him chairman of the house committee and president of the club and sent him to Congress. And he would fain have satisfied himself with the husks that other men did eat, and no man gave unto him real friendship.

But when he came to himself he said: "How many men of my accumulation have boys whom they understand and who understand them, who talk about their boys and seem perfectly happy in the comradeship of their sons and I perish with heart hunger? I will arise and go to my son, and say to him: "Son, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight; I am no more worthy to be called thy father. Make me as one of thy acquaintances." And he arose and came to his son. But while he was yet afar off, his son saw him and was moved with astonishment: and instead of running and falling on his neck, he drew back and was ill at ease. And the father said unto him: "Son, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy father. Forgive me now and let me be your friend." But the son said: "Not so; I wish it were possible, but it is too late. There was a time when I wanted companionship and counsel and to know things, but you were too busy. I got companionship and I got the information, but it was the wrong kind; and now--alas--I am wrecked in soul and body; there is no more heart left in me, and there is nothing you can do for me. It is too late, too late, too late."

--via The Mattituck Christian bulletin, Mattituck, New York

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