There once was a very wise and kind king who had great wealth and power. After he and his wife had one daughter, they found they were unable to have any more children. Always wanting a son as an heir to the kingdom, the king and his wife adopted a baby boy.
As the son grew, for some reason, he never felt a part of the family and was unable to receive his father’s love. The father loved him very much, but, because of some misconceptions, the son did not understand the father’s ways.
After many years of misunderstanding, the son decided to leave and cut off all contact with his family. Before he left, the father gave him a note, sealed in an envelope, and told him, “If you ever need anything, open this envelope.”
Though the son kept the note, he never opened it. He never overcame his bitterness. He saw no need to be a part of his adopted family. The king looked everywhere for his son but was unsuccessful. It eventually broke his heart.
Living by himself in an old shack for years, the son was destitute and dying. An operation would have saved his life, but he had no insurance and no money. He would not even seek help. Others tried to help him, but he always turned them down. His sickness caused him great pain, making him a very unpleasant person.
One day, there was a knock at the door. When he answered it, a deliveryman held out a large package and said, “Your father has finally located you and I have been sent by him to give you a gift.”
The man said, “I do not want anything from my father,” and slammed the door shut.
The next day, the same thing happened. When the man answered the knock at the door, the deliveryman said, “I have been sent from your father to give you a gift.”
The man replied, “It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why should I accept something from someone I do not love nor trust?” And he slammed the door shut.
On the third day, when the knock came at his door, the man became furious, but when he threw open the door, he found only a note taped to the door. It read, “Sir, I only wish to give you something for which you will be eternally grateful. Your gift will be held for you at our storehouse. Take this receipt, and if you should change your mind, you may pick it up whenever you desire.” He ripped the receipt from its place and slammed the door shut.
A few months later, the man died. Those who knew him located and contacted his family. His sister came to collect his meager belongings. As she went through his things, she found a worn envelope, unopened, and the ticket for the package.
She opened the note and read it, “My dear son, for many years. I prayed to have a son just like you, and then I found you. You were so special that I chose you above all the others to be my son and be the heir of my kingdom. If you should ever need help of any kind, do not ever hesitate to ask me. I will do anything for you. All that I have is yours. All you need to do is ask. Lovingly, Your father.”
After wiping away her tears, the sister took the receipt for the package and went to the storehouse to collect it.
When she got back to his shack, she sat down on the dirty floor and began to open the big box. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she removed the packing. Filled to the brim, the box contained nothing but money – millions of dollars. The sight was overwhelming.
Her thoughts came rushing out like a flood, “The son of a king lived like a beggar! If only he had opened the gift, he could have been rescued from his situation. He could have had his operation and been made totally whole. He could have paid his debts. He could have been reconciled with his family. He could have had a family of his own. He could have lived like the son of a king.”
Inside the box, the sister found another note from the father, which said, “My son, this is my gift to you – your gift of freedom. You never asked for anything, yet it was always prepared and waiting your request. I have loved you with an everlasting love. You have been my greatest care, but you did not want my love. I always gave to you but not in the way you expected. Even though we have been separated all these years, I have never stopped loving you.
“All this is for you. All that I have is yours. For whatever reason you thought I didn’t love you, I am sorry. I am sorry you did not understand my ways. If you had only recognized my hand at work, reaching out to you, you would have been spared.
“I only had your welfare at heart. I wished only for your happiness and well being, no matter what happened. Your family has loved you and waited for your return. I hope this will help ease your pain and make up for what you have missed. I love you, my son. Please come home. My kingdom is yours.” Signed, “Your loving Father.”
The sister’s heart was broken. As tears once again rolled down her cheeks, she whispered, “If only he had known the heart of the father, if only he would have accepted the gift, he could have come home. Too bad he didn’t know the truth. He could have been set free.”
“It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
(Luke 12:32b NKJV)