The Businessman – A Parable
There was a certain wealthy businessman. He had a faithful, reliable servant to whom he entrusted all the running of his business. There was nothing the businessman withheld from his servant; not even his personal seal of authority to act on his behalf in all matters. The businessman had a son; his servant had many sons. The businessman and servant agreed to transfer operating responsibility of the business to their sons. They agreed on a plan to accomplish this and began to execute the plan.
The businessman went to his son, sat down with him, and explained to him, “Son, I want you to inherit and run the family business. This is what you must do to be a leader like me, an example for others to follow, and to be successful.” But the son didn’t do what his father requested, so the father disciplined him and repeated to his son what he must do to be successful. This happened many times; still the son didn’t do what was required. Instead he followed his own unsuccessful ways which hurt the business, and his father was distraught. So he sent his son away saying, “Son, you are not ready to run this business. Go your own way as you will, and come back to me when you’re ready. I’ll be waiting for you.” Because the father didn’t stop loving him, he waited for his return.
Then the businessman went to his servant and said, “My son isn’t ready to run the business. Go, teach your sons to run the business by having them follow you everywhere you go and observe everything you do. Then they will learn everything they need to know. When they do what is right reliably, they can help run the business with us until my son is ready.” The servant did so.
His sons quickly learned everything needed to run the business and were given more and more responsibility each day. They became prideful and said to each other, “Surely we will run and own this business, for the owner’s son is unqualified and has been sent away.” But their father the faithful servant said to them repeatedly, “Don’t think that, sons, for the businessman’s son will inherit the business and all of you will run it together the way your fathers run it together today.”
One day the businessman’s son went to his father and said, “Father, I am now a grown man and must make a living or I will go broke. I see that your servant’s sons are authorized to run the business. I’m your son; I will inherit the business, so please put me in charge and let me run the family business.”
The businessman replied, “Son, for years I tried to teach you what you must do to be successful, and for years you have followed your unsuccessful ways. Therefore I will make a new covenant with you, the same covenant I made with my faithful servant’s sons: If you will follow my faithful servant wherever he goes and observe all he does, you will learn everything you need to know to run this business. When my servant tells me that you have learned all you need to know, reliably do what is right, and are ready to assume your personal responsibilities, then you and his sons together will run this business in the same manner that I now run this business with him.”
And so it is with all the children of God, Jews and Gentiles both.