• David Osteen

The Parable of the Most Loved Child

The Parable of the Most Loved Child - Part 1

A long time ago, in a distant land, a righteous and wealthy Father once had two sons. The oldest son was unrighteous, unloving, unkind, disobedient and dishonorable. The youngest son was responsible, generous, humble, wise, respectable, and honorable. The reputation of all were known throughout the land.

One day, the Father was out with his boys tending to their herd on their land when a small band of ruffians attacked them. The Father single-handedly fought the bandits in order to give his two sons time to escape. Escape they did, but at the cost of their Father’s life. Their was great mourning for the loss of this treasured man and great respect for his personal sacrifice.

After the time of mourning the estate was left to the youngest son to oversee with the provision that he give his older brother his portion of the inheritance should he prove Himself worthy. This left the older brother despondent, jealous, and resentful. He felt he was unloved and thought, as the first-born, he had a right to the estate. He knew now, what he had always suspected in his heart, that his father loved his younger brother more than he loved him.


Which son did the Father love most? Why? How do you know?

The Parable of the Most Loved Child - Part 2

One day in a drunken rage the older brother approached his younger brother yelling and cursing at him. The younger brother patiently let his brother rage until the rage turned into tears. The older brother laid on the ground sobbing as his younger brother approached him with compassion.

“Why are you so upset, my brother?”

“Because our Father is gone! AND, because he has loved you more than ME!”

“Why do you think I am Father’s most loved child?”

“Because he has left me nothing! And you, everything…”

“My dear brother. In your grief you are surely not seeing things clearly. You are judging our Father’s love by what he has left you. You should be judging his love by what he gave for you.”

The older brother dried his tears and pondered what his younger brother had said as he listened more.

“Father gave his life for both of us. He loved us both. He loved us both equally. He didn’t sacrifice more for me than for you or more for you than for me. He has loved us equally. We are both the most loved child.”

“But even in his life, Father always loved you more. He always praised you more. He always spoke of your deeds more. He loved you most.”

“Dear brother, Father loved what I did more, because the choices I made and the deeds that followed were righteous and honored him. It was not a righteousness of my own, but simply obeying what he taught me. How could father love your misdeeds? How could he praise your disobedience or drunkenness or philandering or cheating, or lying, or recalcitrance? How could a good and righteous man love and praise such unrighteousness? No, father NEVER loved me more. He may have loved my deeds more, but he has loved us the same.”

At this, the older brother began to weep again as he realized the truth of his younger brother’s words. Though he had been an unrighteous son, their father did love them both the same. He proved that through his sacrifice.

“All that is yours, my older brother, is left in my charge until you are penitent of your past misdeeds. Father has shown his love for you even after his death, in that all that is his is yours, if you but love him and follow him.”


Who of God’s earthly children does He love most? All of them. How do we know? Because of what He has sacrificed for all. (Matthew 5:43-48; John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8)

Many people judge God’s love by whether or not He gives them the fleshly desires of their heart (James 4:1-4) Many people look at what “others” have and conclude “God loves them more than me.” But that is a misjudgment. Look at what God has given for you. In giving Jesus, He has given you everything! (Ephesians 2:1-7) God loves you!

The question is not, “Who has God proven to love more?”, but “Who has proven to love God more?” Examine your life. How have you proven your love for God? (I John 5:1-3) God cannot love your misdeeds. God cannot love your sin. Yes, God does love the (righteous) deeds of some vs. the (unrighteous) deeds of others. But God loves everyone. He has left an eternal inheritance for all who prove their love for Him. (I Peter 1:3-9) May you prove your love for God just as He has proven His love for you. (I John 3:16-18)

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