The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Lessons from a Father

The Parable of the Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-24

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – June 18th, 2017


Understand your importance

  • Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior.
    • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
    • 85% of all children who show behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.
    • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.
    • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.
    • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
  • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.


Luke 15:11-12 ESV

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.  12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 


Know when to let go

  • I don’t know about you, but if one of my children would have demanded this of me, I would have said “no” . . . (it is disrespectful and demeaning. It sounds like entitlement . . . I would have questioned the motive and what they wanted to do with it, and I would have counted the cost.)
  • So why did he say “yes”?
    • The Father said “yes” because His goal was to capture his heart, not just to change his behavior
      • We miss the mark in parenting if we only parent for what they do, not who they are.
      • If you want behavior, then behavior is all you are going to get, you’ll never get heart.
      • They will “conform to our standards” when they are with us. But when their environment changes they conform to it.  That’s why we get “Chameleon” Christians.
      • But if we want to capture the heart, we will get right behavior, and the environment will conform to them.


Luke 15:13-16 ESV

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.  14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.  15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.  16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.


Recognize life as a powerful teacher

  • Life is what life is – the world is ruthless but this is what it takes for some to come to their senses.
  • You have to let people hit bottom because of their own choices. Notice:  he did not go out searching for him . . .


1 Cor 5:5 NIV

hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.


  • Lord, do whatever it takes to bring them back


Luke 15:17-20 ESV

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!  18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.  19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘  20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 


Be a father they want to come back to

  • The son recognized that his father was a good man . . . and treated people well . . .
  • Be a father longing for relationship . . .
  • Feeling compassion . . .
  • And willing to run and embrace the one returning . . .


Luke 15:21-24 ESV

And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.  23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.  24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.


Emphasize relationship over riches

  • So many men get this the other way around . . .
  • Your kids are not there for you, you are the one who needs to be there from them. Too many fathers treat their children like slaves or servants, but they and you really want sons and daughters, and here is the difference in the relationships:
    • A slave is in the relationship because he has to (doesn’t have a choice)
    • A servant is in the relationship because he needs to (what I get from it)
    • A son is in the relationship because he gets to (It is privilege and a joy)
  • This son took a lot of money, and then the father welcomed him back by giving his best and celebrating – this was a demonstration of love being expressed because of restored relationship.



  • Understand your importance / Know when to let go / Recognize life as a powerful teacher / Be a father they want to come back to / Emphasize relationship over riches


Questions for consideration and discussion:

  1. Tell some stories about the impact your father has had on you. Thank him for the positive things he has done.
  2. If you are a parent, what did you learn today that you need to put into practice?