Today, our story will show us how selfishness can actually hurt us. Jesus is not pleased with selfish people because selfish people always think of themselves before everyone else.
Jesus taught that we should always put others ahead of ourselves. He even told a story, a parable, to His followers explaining how sad we will be if we are selfish.
Jesus said, “There once was a father who had 2 sons. The father had plenty of money and lots of land and his sons helped him farm the land.
One day, his youngest son came to his father and said, “Father, I am ready to leave you. I don’t like following your rules and I want to live on my own so that I can do anything I want. Give me my inheritance now so that I may leave here and live on my own!”
The young son wanted his father to give him his inheritance, which is the money he would receive after his father died. But the boy’s father was still alive! When the young son said, “Give me my inheritance now”, he was basically saying, “I don’t want to wait for you to die, I want your money now.” Isn’t that so mean and selfish??
This made the father sad. But he was a wise man and he loved his son very much. The father gave his young son his inheritance and the boy took the money, packed his things, and left for the city.
Jesus said that while the boy was in the city, he spent his money on useless things like fancy clothes and expensive food and drinks. When the people around him saw that he had lots of money, they wanted to be his friends! But these new “friends” didn’t ‘really care about the young man, they only wanted him to spend his money on them.
The boy was doing anything and everything he wanted to make himself happy; but before long, his money ran out – it was all gone. When the boy’s newfound “friends” saw that he had no money left, they no longer wanted to be with him. The boy was all alone and hungry in a city far away from home with not enough to even buy a piece of bread.
Jesus said that the boy was starving and desperate for food but no one would help him. Finally a pig farmer said he would pay the boy to feed his pigs, but he wouldn’t get paid any money until after the job was done. The farmer gave the boy buckets of slop, or old, moldy food to feed to the pigs. Jesus said that the boy was so hungry that even the slop looked good to him!
As the boy was feeding the pigs, he began to think about home. He thought to himself, “My father’s servants have plenty to eat and a safe place to sleep. I’ll go home and beg my father to just let me work for him as a servant so that I can at least have food to eat and a place to sleep.”
So the boy started on his journey home, but as he got closer to home, he got more and more nervous about seeing his father. He had been so selfish and mean to him! Would his father let him stay or would he tell him to leave and never return?
The boy didn’t know this, but every single day since he left, his father had been watching for him to see if maybe, just maybe, his son would decide to come home. He missed him so much and even though his son had been selfish and unkind, the father still loved him and wanted him to come home.
One day, as the father looked down the road, his heart jumped! Could it be?? There, coming down the road, was his son!
The father was so excited and happy to see his son that he ran down the road as fast as he could to meet him!
When he reached his son, the boy fell on his knees before his father and apologized. He said, “Father, I have been wrong. I’ve lost everything and I have nothing left to give you. Can you please forgive me? I am willing work for you as your servant to repay you. I just want to come home.”
The boy’s father pulled him into his arms and said, “MY SON IS HOME!! I thought I would never see you again!! I am going to throw a big party to celebrate because MY SON, WHOM I LOVE, IS HOME!!”
The boy couldn’t believe how much his father loved him and that he was willing to forgive him for all he had done. The father told the servants to get the finest clothes and a beautiful ring to put on his son so that everyone would know that he was back home where he belonged.
When the older brother came in from working in the fields, he heard lots of music and laughter coming from the house. It sounded like a party! He asked one of the servants what was going on. The servant said, “Your brother is home and your father has thrown him a party to celebrate his return!”
Do you think his older brother was happy that he was home? He was not! Actually, he was furious! He even refused to join the party! His father came out to check on his older son and to ask him to please come in and celebrate with them. The older son said, “Why should I celebrate that your younger son is home? He left and took your money, but I have never left you. I have worked for you every single day but you have never thrown such a party for me!”
The father put his arm around his older son and said, “All that I have belongs to you. I love you and I am so thankful for the wonderful son that you are to me. But today, we can celebrate because my younger son, your brother, whom I also love so much is alive and safe at home. Please come inside and let’s celebrate as a family.
Both of the brothers showed selfishness; the younger brother was selfish by taking his father’s money and leaving home and the older brother showed selfishness when he became jealous over how his brother was being treated when he returned. When we only think of ourselves, we become selfish. But even when we act selfishly, when we ask Jesus to forgive us, He always will. And He will help us to show to others love by putting them first.