Japheth wiped a tear that rolled down his cheek. He watched the pigs eat the corn husks he had brought them. His stomach hurt from hunger. He found himself wishing that he could eat the pigs’ food himself.
Japheth thought back to when he still lived with his family. There they had servants to wait on them and always plenty of food. But he had become unhappy living there. He had asked for his share of his father’s money and then left home to live in a country far away. He had wanted to have fun and not have anyone telling him what to do!
At first it had seemed wonderful to be young and have lots of money. He had gone to parties and made friends who liked to help him spend his money. Japheth had thought he was really having a good time.
But before long all his money was gone. Japheth had gone from being rich and merry to poor and sad. The people he had thought were his friends didn’t care about him anymore. Nobody would help him. He had to become a servant. He was sent into the fields to feed pigs.
So here he was in the pigpen, lonely, ragged, and hungry. He began to think about how bad things were. No money, no food, and feeding pigs. Why, even the servants in my father’s house are better off than I am. They have more than enough to eat. I have done nothing good with my life. I’m so sorry for what I’ve done!
Japheth thought about going home to his father. But would his father love him after he had wasted everything his father had given him? How ashamed he was! Finally he decided to go home and see if he could work as a servant in his father’s house. He knew he did not deserve to be called a son anymore.
Japheth began the long trip home. His father saw him coming even before he got to the house. He ran out to meet his son with love and joy in his heart.
Japheth cried as he fell into his father’s arms. “Father! I’ve sinned against God and you. I don’t deserve to be your son anymore, but will you take me back as a servant?”
“Oh, my son! I’m so happy you’ve come home.” Japheth’s father told the servants to bring the best clothes and to prepare a dinner in Japheth’s honor. The father was happy because the lost son was alive and had come home.
Our Bible story is the parable of the prodigal son. This is a very descriptive story, and the primary child can easily visualize the progression of events beginning with the son’s leaving home, turning to riotous living, and eventually repenting and returning to his father’s house.
As we study this lesson together, we will be focusing on the thought that sin will bring trouble, but Jesus will forgive and restore all those who will return to Him.
Let your child use modeling clay to form the main elements in this story: the son, father, money, things purchased, pigs, and pigpen. When completed, he might wish to act out the story for other family members, utilizing the clay figures.