They say if you can't do the time . . . well, you know the rest. I really didn't think what I was doing was wrong, it seemed so harmless at the time. Little did I know how my story would be repeated generation after generation.
My father was a good man, strong in his faith, and had a character that was iron clad. He owned some land and it had produced well for him. He was able to provide nicely for my mother, my brother, and I.
We didn't have what the rich in town did though. They had the finest of all things. We had nice things, but theirs were as golden as the hills that surrounded our farmland were.
I longed for such beauty, such finery and when I saw all that they had, I wanted it too. I desired the lifestyle of those who did not have to toil and work so hard, whose hands were soft and flawless, and whose feet were shod with fine leather strapping's.
Whenever I went into town, I watched with envy as the people came and went, as they darted in and out of the fancy markets and establishments. They always seemed so jovial and happy.
I knew I had to be a part of that world. I wanted to do, go, and be all that they did, went, and were. And so, one day I told my father I was going to take all that was mine and follow my heart.
He pleaded with me not to be irrational, but I told him, he was being the foolish one.
As I walked down the dusty road, I turned and waved my good-byes. My father's head was buried in his hands and my mother was crying. My older brother was yelling something, but I didn't pay attention to any of them and kept on going.
Oh, those days were the best, the best this world could offer. There was plenty of drink, food, and wild parties. Plenty of song, dance, and merriment. Plenty of all the things one always longs to do, to see, to experience. I had many friends, travelled the country, saw things I never dreamed of seeing. I was living the life I always wanted and I was everyone's best friend.
That is until the money ran out.
Just as quickly as I had the world in my hand, it was taken from me. My friends left me and when I ran in to them on the street and asked for some help, they looked at me as if they never knew me.
I had only one option left, and that was to return home. I didn't know what to expect. Had I not called my father a foolish old man? Had I not left my mother standing on the side of the road broken and crying? Did I not see the rage on my older brother's face?
With shame and regret for my choices, I returned to my father's house, expecting fully to be cast aside, just as I had casted him aside.
"Father, I cried, forgive me of my disobedience. I have been more than just foolish, I have been rebellious and have wasted not only your money and mine, I have wasted away the inheritance that I once had in heaven. I am no longer fit to be called a child of yours, for I have sinned against you and God."
Instead of seeing fury in his eyes, I saw love, compassion, and forgiveness. He threw me a homecoming that was fit for a king, tears of joy now flowed from my mother's eyes. As for my brother, when he understood that I was once dead, dead in temptation and sin, but now I was alive, alive in spirit and soul, he understood the grace of a father's mercy.
My crime . . . being lured away from my Father's house . . . my time . . . was the loss of all that my Father had planned for me . . . my punishment was taken care of the day Christ died for me . . . for once, I was lost . . . but now I am found!
I tell my story to warn others that if you don't want to lose the precious time that God has for you . . . well you now know the rest!
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