World English Institute
Listen to a reading
Now read the story of the son who left home. This is the world's most famous short story. It is found in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, verses eleven through thirty-two (Luke 15:11-32). It is quoted from the Easy-to-Read Version of the Bible. After you read the story, please answer the questions on the Answer Sheet.
STORY OF THE SON WHO LEFT HOME
Jesus said, "A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my part of all the things we own!' "So the father divided the wealth with his two sons. Then the younger son gathered up all that he had and left. He traveled far away to another country. There the son wasted his money like a fool. He spent everything that he had. "Soon after that, the land became very dry, and there was no rain. There was not enough food to eat anywhere in the country. The son was hungry and needed money. So he went and got a job with one of the people of that country. The man sent the son into the fields to feed pigs. The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food that the pigs were eating. But no person gave him anything.
"The boy realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, 'All of my father's servants have plenty of food, but I am here, almost dead because I have nothing to eat. I will leave and go to my father. I will say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am not good enough to be called your son. But let me be like one of your servants.' "
While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. The father felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him. He hugged and kissed his son. The son said, 'Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am not good enough to be called your son.
"But the father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring the best clothes and dress him. Also put a ring on his finger and good shoes on his feet. Bring the fat calf. We will kill it and have plenty to eat. Then we can have a party! My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!' So they began to have a party"
"The older son was in the field. He came closer to the house. He heard the sound of music and dancing. So the older son called to one of the servant boys and asked, 'What does all this mean?' "The servant said, 'Your brother has come back. Your father killed the fat calf to eat. Your father is happy because your brother came home safely!'
"The older son was angry and would not go in to the party. So his father went out to ask him to come in. The son said to his father, 'I have served you like a slave for many years! I have always obeyed your commands. But you never even killed a goat for me. You never gave a party for me and my friends.
But your other son has wasted all your money on prostitutes. Then he comes home, and you kill the fat calf for him!'
"But the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me. All that I have is yours too. We must be happy and have a party, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found."'
This famous story teaches us some important lessons about God and about ourselves.
1. People seek happiness in the wrong places. The younger son thought happiness was getting away from his father's control and being free to have fun. In the end, he was miserable because he was looking for happiness in the wrong places.
People in today's world are making the same mistake. They are seeking happiness in money, drugs, alcohol, sex, thrills, education, power, fame, beauty. But selfish living does not lead to joy. It leads to suffering and shame.
2. God loves us and does not want us to be ruined by evil. The younger son represents any person who turns away from God to seek fame, fortune, and pleasure. The father in the story represents God.
When the younger son returned home, the father ran to meet him, hugged him, and kissed him tenderly. That means that God loves us. When we turn away from evil and come to God, he forgives us, welcomes us, and restores our dignity and honor.
In this Introductory Lesson, we have learned something about English, about ourselves, and about God. We sincerely hope you have enjoyed the study.