Many of us as mothers and fathers have prodigals (wayward or detached children) in our families. Children who have gone their own way, ignored family relationships, have set aside spiritual beliefs, or squandered resources. Certainly this is a matter of degree and subject to our own assessment as to seriousness.
The prodigal son parable in the Bible represents obvious and substantial failures as it regards separation from family, dissipation of funds, and sinfulness. The young son has obvious feelings of entitlement to his father’s estate; even prematurely. The anger of the older son is obvious when the younger one is welcomed back into the fold with absolute forgiveness. gifts and special treatment. with no regard to his shameful behavior.
We are seeing, by comparison, the clear depictions of the extent of God’s love as a guide when we repent and call for forgiveness.
Too often the rift in families is due to money matters. A parent might display a bumper sticker. as we have seen; “We’re spending our children’s inheritance” as some kind of silly antagonistic statement. We see others who agonize and spend thousands on attending to every detail in the dispensations of their estates. Most often to insure equality to the beneficiaries. There are some who made disposition of the estate prior to death, that would address the individual needs of each person without regard to equality. These may be wise efforts in the desire to be realistic and proactive.The most desperate spot is that of a parent waiting for the son or daughter’s return on any grounds.We hope for a level of repentance , if appropriate.
Peace, however, will only come at long last when we realize that it is no longer in our hands, but in God’s alone. If it is about money we may be reminded by the words of Jesus; Guard yourself and keep free of covetedness (fixation on wealth); for a man’s life does not consist, and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance in that which is over and above his needs”.
As to the two boys in the parable: It was about money. As fathers and mothers, let it be about forgiveness and faith in God’s grace under every circumstance. Let it be about saying, writing, any loving communication that you have not disclosed while waiting for “the opportune time”, or some kind of belated memo or observation at your funeral.
We will seldom find any of that in the Last Will and Testament.