There once was a home filled with a father, mother, a son and a daughter. One day, Father left a note on the refrigerator that said: “Family, I am tired of this life. I have quit my job and am leaving to find happiness.”

He then cleaned out the family bank account, grabbed the credit cards and left home. Anxious for a fresh start, Father used the family minivan as down payment on a flashy red sports car and bought lots of brand new suits, the kind the young guys wear.

Without ever looking back, Father drove his shiny new car, top down, very fast until he came to a far away city that had all he had ever dreamed of. He checked into the best five-star hotel and had two porters carry his leather luggage up to the top floor; his new home. Looking out over the city lights, Father smiled, nodded and then dressed to hit the town as he would every night in the weeks that followed.

There were no diapers to change, no lawn to mow, no more burgers and fries to stretch the budget, and best of all, no messy kids clamoring for his attention when it was his time to relax after work. Instead, Father enjoyed a steady diet of rich foods, the best drinks money could buy, new friends that talked about important things such as French wines and who’s who in Hollywood. Oh, and instead of messy kids, Father had pretty women that sat on his lap, loudly laughing, eager to tell him how wonderful he was. Finally, Father was truly happy.

However, after one particularly riotous night of partying, Father saw the reality of his new life. His head ached, his credit cards were maxed out and all his money was gone. To make mattes worse, the fancy hotel kicked him out and kept his new suits because of nonpayment. Father’s red sports car was repossessed and he found himself on foot with only the clothes on his back. The pain of lack opened his mind and he considered that his trendy friends and the lovely ladies [that left as soon as he was broke] might actually be quite miserable. Their hollow eyes and shallow lives begged for purpose beyond the next party, but they were powerless to break away.

But this realization came too late, leaving Father lonely, thirsty and hungry. “How I long to sit at my little kitchen table and fill my belly with the simple food my wife would cook” He thought. “And, I wish I could once again hear the sound of my children’s laughter.”

A tiny spark of hope burst forth in Father’s heart, but a flash flood of guilt quickly quenched it. “But, I have failed them and cannot be forgiven…Yet, if I stay here, I will die.”

Confused, the broken man did the only thing that made sense and began walking slowly back toward home, expecting the worst.

When Father was yet far off, his wife and children saw him. They ran to him and kissed him, covering his pain with their love and washing away the stench of his sin with their tears.

Father’s heart broke, as he fell to his knees and cried. “But, I have sinned against Heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called the Father of this home.”

Mother turned her face toward heaven and prayed a prayer of celebration. “Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing the heart cry of our children. For this Father was dead and is alive again. He was lost and now is found.”

With that, the children took Father by the hand and led him back into their lives.

Men…Its time to go back home. Now.