The Savior taught a powerful parable referred to as “the prodigal son.”
“And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.’ And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’ And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, ‘Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.’ And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15: 11-32 in the Bible)
The Parable of the Prodigal Son Can Apply to All of Us
The pivotal moment occurred when the prodigal “came to himself.” Sitting in a pig pen, wishing he could have filled his belly with the husks that the swine ate, he finally realized that he had wasted not only his inheritance but also his own life. We all are, in some measure, prodigal sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. For as the Apostle Paul wrote, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23 in the Bible).
Like the errant son of the Savior’s parable, we have come to “a far country” (earth) separated from our premortal home (Heaven). Like the prodigal, we share in a divine inheritance, but by our sins we squander a portion thereof and experience a “mighty famine” of spirit. Like him, we learn through painful experience that worldly pleasures and pursuits are of no more worth than the husks of corn that swine eat as we consider the Lord’s plan of happiness for all of us. We yearn to be reconciled with our Father in Heaven and return to his home.
We all Need Repentance and to Keep the Commandments of God
We all need to repent of things we do wrong, those who are wandering in forbidden paths and lost as well as those who are on the strait and narrow path and are pressing forward on the path. Keeping the commandments of God both puts us on the right path and keeps us on the right path. It is for those who are just beginning to believe, those who have believed all along, and those who need to begin again to believe. The opportunity to be able to repent and have our sins removed both large and small, was made possible by the great atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Let us be like the prodigal son and take advantage of it in our own lives by repenting of our sins and wrong doings and keep the commandments of God.
Dallas Jones, local leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the Article came from Bruce D. Porter remarks in General Conference October 1995. Any questions on this parable call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to [email protected].