A lot of fuss was made over the return of the lost son in what has been called the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”.
It’s a beautiful story. It’s particularly meaningful for us who have been given so great a salvation in Christ because essentially the story is about us.
We are the Prodigal. We were once lost, but now we are found.
There are other characters in the story. We must not forget that there are two sons. One has returned after being lost in sin in the far country. The other had remained in his father’s household.
One would think that we could draw the conclusion that if we were to divvy up the accolades between the two sons, that the latter son would be considered the “good” son.
Let’s take a gander at the “good” son:
Luke 15:29-30 – “But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; (30) But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!”
We could ask if he would like a little cheese with that “whine”.
Ahh…the way the Kingdom turns. The “bad” son turns into the “good” son, and the “good” son, well here’s the kicker…he actually didn’t turn into anything. He was probably always that way, but had been considered a faithful and loving son because he had everything he ever wanted so he never complained. He was spoiled, and like most lavishly spoiled people, he seethed with resentment and anger underneath. We see what he really thought of his little brother when he refers to him as “this son of yours”.
That’s who this is about. The sneaky, resentful, and angry Christian.
Ever notice that in many instances the people you help the most resent you the most? The more love you show them, the more you give to them, the more you care for them, after awhile it will somehow be turned back against you? It’s a phenomena that we wouldn’t expect in the Church but it’s there.
It’s been there all along and God has shown us so in this parable. The older son has never gone without, yet here we see him complaining that he never received what his returning brother just received. Well, he also never had to go through the pain and torment his younger brother did either. Essentially there is really nothing to complain about.
The father (who represents God in this story) replies most graciously.
“(31) And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. (32) But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!”
Having been in the position of the father a few times in my life, I can’t help but think that he must have at least thought “Where’s this coming from!”
Sometimes petty jealousies and bitterness will not allow people to see the blessing. They will go so far as to put themselves into an undesirable situation, cutting off their noses to spite their faces so to speak, because of their inner rage and unhappiness.
This is why Jesus spoke of love and forgiveness and why the commandment of love is the one we are to keep above anything else. This older son had some hate in his heart and the Father reminded him that there was no need for it because “all that is Mine is yours”.
Have you contemplated that lately? Especially when you’re feeling like your being passed over or not getting enough attention?
All that He has is yours. Ask yourself if that could be sufficient for you today.