A young man loved the Lord so much that when he grew up he decided to become a minister of the gospel. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman whom he soon married, and together they ministered to many people. After some time they decided to have a family, and the Lord blessed them with a handsome little boy whom they named John. Oh, how they loved their little boy. They did all they could to teach him about Jesus and bring him up in just such a way that he would also love the Lord as much as they did.
As little John grew up he had other ideas for his life. He became thoughtless, not wanting to hear anymore about Jesus or his parents’ religion. Finally, against his father’s wishes, he left his home. Joining the crew of a ship with a desire to travel around the world, he set off on his adventure.
The ship on which he worked had docked at some beautiful islands where they were to stay for several days. On one of the leisure days John and several of his sailor friends went ashore, returning to the ship with one of the little native boys they had met. They were fascinated with this little boy who was proficient in playing an instrument in a way they had never seen or heard before and wanted to hear more.
The boy played quite a concert for the sailors before asking to be taken to shore again, but the sailors did not want to take him back just yet because they enjoyed his music so much and wanted him to play some more.
Finally the young boy began to cry. He told them that a Christian missionary had come to their village and he had learned about Jesus Christ and that the missionary was coming back again that day at a certain time to tell the people more about Him. The little boy pleaded with them to take him ashore so he would not miss hearing about Jesus.
The sailors were quite amazed and touched by the little boy’s appeals to be taken back so they put him in a boat and rowed him back to the shore. John was particularly touched by this little boy who wanted to hear about this same Jesus he had been taught about as a child by his godly parents and whom he had turned his back on, running away from home to be a sailor. He thought, “Here I am, a son of a minister, knowing far more about Jesus Christ than this poor little boy, and yet not caring about Him! This little fellow is now earnestly listening to the Word of Life and here I am neglecting it.”
That night as John climbed into his bed he wept over his sins of neglecting Jesus and his family and he earnestly prayed for forgiveness. His prayer was answered and that night, because of the witness of the little, native boy, he gave his heart to Jesus and became a child of God. His parents were filled with joy over the news. Their son, who had been dead, was alive again. He, who had been lost, was now found. What a joyous family to be reunited in Jesus.
Many years ago, another young man left his home and his father to set off on his own adventure, leaving a grieving father.
“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.” Luke 15:11–24.
There is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents and returns to the Father’s house (Luke 15:7).