Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about a father and rebellious son. The son had done wrong and in his shame he ran away from home. In the story the father searched all over Spain for Paco, but he couldn’t find him anywhere. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate attempt to find his son, the father placed an ad in the daily newspaper. The advert read: “PACO, MEET AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY. ALL IS FORGIVEN. PAPA.”
The father prayed that the boy would see the ad and maybe – just maybe – he would come to the Hotel Montana. And so on Tuesday at noon the father arrived at Hotel Montana and he couldn’t believe his eyes. The police had been called to control the crowd of eight hundred young men all named “Paco” who had come to the hotel to meet their father. Eight hundred boys named Paco read the ad in the newspaper and hoped the message was for them. Eight hundred “Pacos” came to receive the forgiveness they so desperately needed.
This story illustrates the great truth that Jesus was driving at in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Just as there are many Pacos in Hemingway’s story, so there are many prodigals out there who need the Father’s forgiveness.
Source: John Maxwell, 1999, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, p.19-20