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Summary: The 4 years of college for the Prodigal Son.

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The University of Hard Knocks

Robert A. Glass

Many of us have attended college, and some of us have various degrees. But there was a boy, whose collegiate journey can be a lesson for us all. The story of the Prodigal Son is well known, but if we examine through its stages we will see the four years of college as well.

Our story begins in Luke 15:11. This young man is now “mature” and the time has come for him to go “off to college”. Yes! He is entering the University of Hard Knocks as a fully matriculated FRESHMAN with ALL rights and privileges.

He said to his Dad, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. This boy didn’t KNOW it but he was asking for tuition money into the University of Hard Knocks.

In Verse 13, “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country. He went off to college.

At college, he acted as a typical freshman would; he wasted his time in riotous parties. For a brief moment...he was a BIG man on campus. He had lots of friends, plenty of girls and he was having a GOOD TIME and a FUN, freshman year. BUT! His tuition ran out before his classes ended! His friends abandoned him and he was alone. (All in all, It was a downhill spiral only to get WORSE.

At the beginning of his sophomore year at the University of Hard Knocks, a huge FAMINE hit the campus and our HAPPY-GO-LUCKY freshman was now a LONELY, HUNGRY, friendless sophomore. The “tuition” money that was given to him by Dad had been squandered and lost. He was beyond POOR, He was BROKE!

Even though his tuition money was gone his laborious classes at the University of Hard Knocks continued. He found himself NOW as a junior and his next class was to be VERY laborious. Luke 15:15 “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. His junior level classes took him as LOW as a man could GO! To a Jew, a pig was an “unclean” animal. That meant, Touch NOT, Taste NOT and AVOID! But he not only had to be NEAR them, he had to FEED them! He is a “junior” now and has had nothing to eat his entire sophomore/junior years. This young man is hungry, REALLY hungry. I mean PIG FEED hungry! But, he couldn’t even get a mouthful of that!

NOW! He stands as a senior in the University of Hard Knocks. He has now LEARNED what he did NOT know. His EDUCATION has FINALLY ARRIVED! He has come to himself. Now as a “senior” he becomes wiser and more humble. He realizes what he had as a SON and realizes how far down he has fallen. SOMETIMES, a man has to fall down before he can get up! He reasons to himself How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! This man has now qualified for the PhD degree from the University of Hard Knocks.

He decides to exercise his new wisdom by using his humility. He says to himself, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.


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