(Luke 15:11-32, II Corinthians 7:1) In Jesus’ story of the prodigal neither son understood his father. Both of the boys were wrong in attitude and actions. One sinned in the flesh and the other in the spirit. They failed to realize their father was master of all three places, the house, the field, and the far country.
The house in this story represents the church. It is in the house where we discover life, love, and purpose.
The field in this story represents the harvest. It’s in the field where we learn to work together with our brothers to live productive lives.
The far country in this story represents the world. It’s in the far country where we discover the marketplace and find the government.
Both sons tried to find fulfillment separate from their father; the younger son in the far country and the older son in the field. It’s our relationship with the father which makes life worth living. The apostle Paul quotes from the book of Exodus giving us God’s intent for our lives, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people… I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:16-18)
The younger son dreamed of doing great things in a far country, but without his father’s wisdom and his brother’s fruitful labor, all he had to trade was his inheritance. He was wasting his inheritance instead of making a profit from the harvest field.
The older son was faithfully working the field to produce a good harvest, but why was he working so hard? He can’t eat all the food produced by the field alone. The harvest wasn’t intended to be stored in the barn but to be traded in the marketplace. The older brother needed a good agent to represent him in the marketplace. He needed someone he could trust to help him market his goods. Who could represent him and his father better than his younger brother?