Remember the story of the prodigal son? Actually, it's the story of the lost son. I think it's even more the story of the two sons. Each son in the story had his own set of problems! It wasn't just the one who left that was messed up!
Everyone concentrates on the "prodigal" son, but I think the other son was further off track. The younger son learned the hard lessons that "there's no place like home" and "you don't miss the water 'till the well runs dry", but I'm not sure the older son learned his lesson at all! Sure the younger son messed up royally, but he "came to his senses" and came home to apologize and asked forgiveness. The older son stayed and worked for his father, but it wasn't out of love; He was working for an inheritance! When the younger son returned, he didn't rejoice with his father because he didn't want his brother returning for any of what was his!
Both sons failed to understand one important thing: being a son is about relationship! The younger son came home to ask his father to hire him as a servant. He didn't understand that when you're a son, you're always a son! You were born a son and the only way to stop being a son is to die! As long as he lived, he was his father's son! No matter what he did or didn't do, he was still his father's son. The older son thought that he had to work hard and earn his inheritance and his father's love and respect. He was just as wrong as his younger brother! His father loved him whether he worked 7 days a week, 24 hours a day or didn't work at all! Their father wasn't worried about money and things; He was worried about his sons!
Sometimes we take our Heavenly Father for granted and we run around wasting our time on frivolous stuff, as if our lives were our own! And sometimes we start thinking that we have to work ourselves silly to make our Father love us. Both ways of thinking are equally wrong! It's about relationship!
We are God's sons and daughters. He chose us. He saved us. He loves us. He made a way for us to be adopted into His family. This was all His idea! This story was told to us so that we could learn the lesson the easy way: from their experience! We don't have to learn it the hard way!