The Two Petitions of the Prodigal
George H. Morrison
I wonder if my readers ever noticed that the Prodigal made two petitions to his father. The first was: "Father, give me." "Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me." The son was growing weary of the home. He felt acutely that he was missing things. The world was big, and the days were going by, and he was young, and he was missing things. It is always bitter, when the heart is young and the world is rich in visions and in voices, to dwell remote and feel that one is missing things. The fatal mistake the Prodigal made was this-he thought that all he wanted was far off. He thought that the appeasing of his restlessness lay somewhere over the hills and far away. He was destined to learn better by and by; meantime he must have every penny for his journey, and he came to his father and said, "Father, give me." Mark you, there is no asking of advice. There is no consulting of the father's wishes. There is no effort to learn the father's will in regard to the disposition of the patrimony. It is the selfish cry of thoughtless youth, claiming its own to use just as it will: "Father, give me what is mine."
So he got his portion and departed, and we all know the tragic consequences, not less tragic because the lamps are bright, and the wine sparkling, and the faces beautiful. The Prodigal tried to feed his soul on sense; and the Lord, in that grim way of His, changes the cups, the music, and the laughter into the beastly routing of the swine. Then the Prodigal came to himself. Memories of home began to waken. He lay in his shed thinking of his father. Prayers unbidden rose within his heart. And now his petition was not, "Father, give me." He had got all he asked, and he was miserable. His one impassioned cry was, "Father, make me." "Father, make me anything you please. Make me a hired servant if you want to. I have no will but yours now. I am an ignorant child and you are wise." Taught by life, ...
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