The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MARCH  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






A Matter Of Faith

"he was lost and is found"

by Pastor Joel Lawler

Through hard work and much sweat, he had achieved a great deal of success. His wealth was secure and he had done his best to train and mentor his successors, his two sons. They would have a good life. They would take over for him and live comfortably due to his efforts. The sacrifices he had made would pay off as he had hoped.

His oldest son had inherited his work ethic. Like his dad, he set to work early and stayed late until the day's work was done. The eldest son's diligence was admirable. He worked hard and knew his father's trade from the ground up.

The youngest son was restless. He did not share his father's nor his brother's passion for the family business. He also knew that he would always be number two behind his brother and live in his brother's shadow.

The youngest son decided that he had enough and wanted to launch out on his own.  He wanted to take on the world on his own terms. He went to his father and asked if he would give him the cash equivalent of his inheritance.
The father reluctantly gave in to his son's request.

With cash in hand the youngest son set out to find himself. He acted without

Pastor Joel Lawler

restraint and spent his money on extravagant living. He lived in the best place that his money could buy him. He spent his nights out in the city and his days were for sleeping off the previous night's indulgences. He denied himself nothing.

He rapidly burned through his money. It did not take long until his finances were drained. He tried to sell some of the stuff he had bought and make a modest life but it was too little too late. He had no choice but to move out of his luxurious apartment and into the slums.

His friends were gone at the same pace as his money.

Finding work was tough. Most employers passed him up because they did not see him as someone who would be dependable or someone who would stick around for the long term.

The best he could do was to find a minimum wage job feeding cattle. Money was so tight that even the feed for the animals began to look good to him.

Discouragement had set in and he could see little hope in his current situation.
He thought to himself "even the lowest person in my father's business has it better than this." He decided to go home. He would ask for his father's forgiveness and beg for a job.

Before he even got home, his father saw him coming. The father ran to meet his son.

"Dad I have made a huge mistake and have failed you. I do not deserve to be treated as your son. Could you find it in your heart to let me work for you? I will take the lowest position possible and do whatever you ask."

His father did not hear a word he said.

The dad called everyone he knew and invited him to a huge party to celebrate the return of his son.

The older brother walked in on the party and became very angry when he had heard why his dad was celebrating.

He left the party very upset.

His dad found him and asked why he was so mad.

"I have done everything you have asked and have worked tirelessly for you. I have never once disrespected you or put into jeopardy all that you have accomplished. My little brother takes a huge portion of our profits and goes and spends it on living the high life with prostitutes and you celebrate his return."

"My son," the father said, '"you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to throw a party, because this brother of yours was dead and now he is alive; he was lost and is found."