The Parable of the Lost Son, and Two for Tuesday!

Welcome  I’m going to share some of my insights from a very well-known parable in the book of Luke.  Growing up, I often heard this story referred to as “The Prodigal Son.”  I’m going to provide some background for this and make some personal connections today.  Today’s double recipes are Slow Cooker Roast Beef and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes.  Thank you for joining me today.  Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisements and affiliate links seen in this blog.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  My New International Version Bible has small, italicized headings throughout scripture.  I always like these because I can make a quick reference when I’m looking up a certain story or passage from the Bible.  The heading for the story in Luke 15:11-32 is “The Parable of the Lost Son.”  This is a very appropriate heading, but I grew up hearing the story referred to as “The Prodigal Son.”  I honestly had no idea what that word prodigal meant until a few minutes ago when I looked it up.

You see, I was going to title this post “The Prodigal Daughter” and make connections from recent life experiences to the story, thinking prodigal meant “lost.”  It’s a good thing I checked…the definition of prodigal is “spending money or resources freely or recklessly; being wasteful or extravagant.”  That’s not me!  The “lost” part is what I can identify with.

First, understand that a parable is story used to teach, not a recount of actual events.  Jesus told parables, as recorded in the gospels, to teach lessons to his followers, they are usually metaphoric, but use language and references that make them easy to understand.  So Jesus tells this story of a young son who asks his father for his inheritance early, then goes off to live it up!  Of course, as we would expect, the young son squanders away his wealth on foolish living and ends up in the pig slop fighting his way for scraps.  Basically, he hits rock bottom, and in this state, he realizes the error of his ways and plans to go back to his father, but not to pick up from where he left off as his son, but as a hired worker.  He will humble himself completely and go ask to work for his wealthy father just so he doesn’t have to continue living in his miserable conditions.  Then the story gets really good!  Before the son even gets up to the house, his father sees him coming and starts planning the celebration, complete with feast.  The older brother, who followed all the rules and made good choices gets upset, seeing unfairness.  After all, the brother got his money and wild living, and now also gets to come home and celebrate as well.  Our human nature can see the older brother’s point.  Why should he be getting a celebration, when what he really needs is a strong reprimand or lecture.  It’s called consequences, right?  You made this bed, now lie in it!  But this story is a parable, a metaphor for our relationship with God.  We are all lost, and many of us reach that lowest point where we have to decide, am I going to continue to wallow in the mire and muck, or am I going to swallow my pride and go back to the Father, hoping for even an ounce of grace?

So, when I was working in my prayer and devotional journal the other day, this story was part of the day’s devotional.  I kept thinking about how lost I have been and how that could have been me in that story.  No, not literally.  I didn’t receive riches from my parents that I have spent recklessly or in wildly extravagant fashion, nor am I habitually wasteful with my husband’s hard-earned income.  But I have squandered my blessings and left the home of my Father.  I prayed for a loving husband, and what a blessing!  But then we stopped going to church.  We prayed for a beautiful, healthy child, and what a blessing!  Yet we still didn’t worship on a regular basis.  And as much as it pains me to write this, we went several years in our household where God wasn’t even really invited in.  That sentence makes me cry, so bear with me.  And like that lost son, I hit rock bottom.  My mental health took me to a very dark place, a place that scared me so bad I knew I needed a change, a change requiring diving intervention.  And then, in the last year, our household has seen some of our biggest struggles.  People and places that were supposed to make us feel secure, were stripped away.  We learned that there are no guarantees with health.  We learned people are hard to trust.  We learned we cannot take care of everything on our own.  When I felt I had nothing left, I knew it was time to go Home to the Father.  I brought myself to His doorstep, in prayer, confessing my sin and weakness and asking forgiveness.  I brought myself to His doorstep, in Scripture, studying, looking for His instructions on what to do next.  I brought myself to His doorstep, in Church, offering praise and worship to a Father who welcomes me with open arms, no matter how far I have strayed away.  When I was at my worst place, I needed God to bring me back into His Family, and He did so.  Not with reprimands, stipulations, or exceptions, but with celebration, love, and grace.  For I was lost, and now I am found, praise the Lord!

Today’s Scriptures  Of course, I would recommend you read the parable I have referenced today, found in Luke 15:11-32.  I also have the following verses about grace, which our loving Father offers for us each day.

James 4:6  “But He gives us more grace.  That is why scripture says ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Ephesians 2:4-5  “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by His grace you have been saved.”

Nehemiah 1:9  “but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”

Today’s Prayer  My Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for Your ever-outstretched arms to Your children.  You welcome us home to You, time and time again.  We are Your wandering sheep, Your lost herd, Your straying children.  Please help us always to find our way back to You and Your paths, to enjoy Your comfort and protection and provision.  Thank You for being a God of second chances, a God of infinite chances.  We praise Your Holy Name, in Christ, Amen.

Onion Beef Roast
Beef rump roast prepared low and slow in the slow cooker with double onion from fresh onion slices and onion soup mix.

Today’s Recipe  “Bring the fatted calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.” Luke 15:23.  I always love when I see people in the Bible celebrating with food.  It feels more real to us.  My mom used to always make great “feasts” when I would come home from college.  I hadn’t been lost, but she wanted to celebrate my return with things I found yummy.  Today, for our two-for-Tuesday, I have a “welcome home” kind of dinner, with Onion Beef Roast in the Slow Cooker and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes on the side.  Traditionalists are going to say, you’re supposed to put the potatoes and carrots in with the roast when you cook it.  No, thank you.  I grew up eating roast that way, but I don’t love my veggies done this way.  They turn all brown and they soak up too much beef drippings, losing their own flavor.  No, if I want beef stew, that’s what I’ll fix.  Instead, I’m going to cook my roast low and slow by itself, and then fix my mashed potatoes on the stove, along with whatever other vegetables I plan to serve.  This is the way my family prefers this meal to be served.  Try it…you might like it too!

Slow Cooker Beef Roast
Slow Cooker Beef Roast with onions

Onion Beef Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker

  • 4 pound Beef rump roast
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 2 pkgs onion soup mix
  • 1 cup water
  • Slice and lay onion in bottom of slow cooker.  Top with beef roast.  Rub oil on all sides of roast.  Sprinkle and rub in onion soup mix on all sides of roast. Add one cup of water to cooker.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Add butter, milk, and prepared horseradish sauce to cooked potatoes, and mash!
  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled, washed, and cubed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish sauce (We like Woeber’s Sandwich Pal Smokey Horseradish Sauce.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Place prepared potatoes in large pot and cover with water, sprinkle with salt, and turn to high heat.  When potatoes begin to boil, turn heat to medium low and continue to cook another 15 minutes.  Drain potatoes.  Add remaining ingredients and mash with a potato masher or electric mixer.  Note–you may want to add more or less horseradish depending on your preferences, my husband and I could handle more, but our daughter cannot!

Beef Gravy

  • 1 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBS milk
  • 1 cup of beef broth from the slow cooker
  • In medium bowl, whisk together flour and milk to make a paste.  Add beef broth, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking between each addition.  Season as desired.  Serve with roast and potatoes.

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