As such, these orphaned leaders (many having lost their fathers as young children) are very receptive to the passages in the Bible that point to a coming reunion with their fathers and, ultimately, a reunion with our Heavenly Father in His Eternal Kingdom. The parable of the Prodigal Son, who returned to his father after a period of rebellion, excess, and disgrace, is repeatedly one of the stories most cherished, told, and retold by these indigenous leaders. One of our East Africa partners recently shared with us the following testimony:

The Lord led us to an area where we found a group of Pygmies. We shared the story of the Prodigal Son and asked them to repeat the story. Almost everybody was able to repeat the story correctly. When some guys from the group asked us to come again, we asked them if we could make a drama of the story next time, and they said “yes.” After creating a drama of the Prodigal Son story, 16 people from their group decided to follow Jesus, and among them eight decided to be baptized!

The use of Parables

The power of God’s parables and the Holy Spirit’s movement among His people is truly incredible to witness firsthand. I was brought to tears listening to these precious children of God telling me their stories and witnessing to the hope they have found in Jesus and their ability to share that love with non-believers. Like this East Africa leader’s testimony we hear many testimonies like this among leaders equipped by our Bridges training events in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

While attending these training events, I am often overcome with great joy in seeing leaders realize that their reconciliation with their Heavenly Father has been completed through Jesus’s gift of grace. And though they were once lost, they have been forgiven and found again!

If you have a moment, please look up and read in your Bible (or listen to an audio Bible) the parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. Spending time in God’s Word is a good thing for all of us, wherever we live!

As I mentioned in last month’s blog post, we often use the parables told by Jesus in our global Bridges training events. So let me ask you:

How do you see yourself in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and what does it mean to you? How can you use this story in your own family and community to share the hope we have in Christ?

I would love to hear from you about what these questions mean to you

8 replies
  1. Dennis Davenport
    Dennis Davenport says:

    Kent… we just finished a three-day Epiphany retreat in prison with a group of Youth Offenders (sixteen and seventeen old boys) who watched as some of their fellow prisoners acted out the parable of the prodigal son… it always affects the boys mightily and sets the stage for us to deal with forgiveness in the lives of these young men… it is one of Jesus’ most powerful parables.

    • Kent Kiefer
      Kent Kiefer says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Yes! Fully agree with you that this parable is one of the most powerful Jesus ever said. It works every ​time and in every location! To God be the Glory. Blessings to you and Eileen, Kent

  2. Martha Evans
    Martha Evans says:

    At the age of 13 I asked Christ to be my Savior. I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and was Baptized. Two years later at the age of 15 I began to drift away from the Lord. Ignoring Him urging me to come back to Him. Slowly I became rebellious, and started using drugs, and participating in things I knew were not in Gids plan for me. All along God was calling me back, but I would just do what I wanted, what felt good at the time. For many years I was in conflict between what I was doing, and what God was calling me to do. I went through many hardships, and still didn’t fully surrender my life to Him. I became very bitter, angry, and depressed, trying to figure out why things were this way.
    It was about 17 years ago that I joined a Church called Life In Christ, where the Grace of God was preached. I learned that I didn’t have to clean up my life before coming to the Lord. That he would except me, and love me right where I was. That He would forgive me and loved me even though I had forsaken Him. I went through a lot of shame and guilt, before accepting the fact that He has covered me, and all I had done against Him, with His life, His blood. Over the last Three years I have been able to totally accept His forgiveness, and am learning how to grow in Him.

    I can share with my family and community that our Heavenly Father is always there yearning for us to come home. We all have a part of us that desires to be whole, and have direction in our lives. I want my family and community to know no matter the life situation, God is patiently, lovingly calling us to him. He is ready to celebrate at our coming, and accepts us as we are.
    I am so thankful to God that He has never left me. I am in awe that he loves me despite my sinful nature, and calls me his daughter, and friend.

    • Kent Kiefer
      Kent Kiefer says:

      Hi Martha,

      Thanks for sharing how the parable of the Prodigal has impacted you personally. You have such a great testimony of the Lord’s hand in your life. God bless, Kent

  3. Jim Weisert
    Jim Weisert says:

    The Prodigal Son shines the light on the joy we can bring God when we serve in the restoration process of Kingdom work. God, and the father of the prodigal son, rejoices when the lost return to him. And God’s heart breaks, just as the father’s did when he see’s the response of the other son. And here too you and I can serve the Kingdom to help the hurt churched be restored to God.

    For me, this parable teaches believes that were in the restoration business for God’s Kingdom. What an awesome purpose we all share!

    Praise you Father God for letting us share in this work! Amen

  4. Teri Rohne
    Teri Rohne says:

    It wasn’t for a long time until I understood the level of sin of the son who DIDN’T leave. I always thought he “was a pretty good guy”…well that is the definitely the pervasive sin of the western culture. We just passively follow God and somehow hold too close our faith as if we have a right to keep it from someone! As Matthew 25 details in the the parable of the talents, God equips us and EXPECTS us to use the great gifts he’s given us. I am still working toward figuring out what his equipping and calling is for me but am excited to keep walking forward in faith. God is always good!! Blessings Kent and the great work your team is doing.

    • Kent Kiefer
      Kent Kiefer says:

      Hi Teri,

      Thank you for sharing and I so much like your response. We are also getting many comments and feedback with the insights into the “other son” and the learnings from it. Jesus’s parables teach us so many things in so many new and profound ways! Blessings to you and Hans, Kent


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