We’ve all heard the parable about the prodigal son (if you haven’t and would like to, be sure to read tomorrow’s post here). Today isn’t so much about the long-lost son but the faithful son that didn’t leave home, didn’t want his inheritance before it was rightfully his and didn’t abandon his duties serving his father. He didn’t live his life covered in filth, chasing after his lustful desires or drinking till his liver was about to burst.
One day, the not so prodigal son was out in the fields working, just like he did every day. He was sweaty, dirty and hungry and just about ready to hit the showers (well, get cleaned up but I’m sure if there were showers back in those days, one would have been pretty great about then).
Well, he headed home and heard music and partying going on inside the house.
“Wow! There’s a party going on. What’s up with that?”
Luke 15:25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
Here was an opportunity to celebrate his brother’s safe return but not only that, the restoration of his family, an end to his father’s pain of losing a son and having a younger brother to talk into doing stupid things to put on YouTube (well, that last one is something I would celebrate).
But big brother would do no celebrating. In fact, he would try to steal his father’s joy.
Luke 15:28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
Nope, not the least bit happy his brother isn’t dead. In fact, he wouldn’t even allow himself to enjoy some great brisket, baked beans, fried taters and an ice cold Coca-Cola after a hard day’s work. He was willing to punish himself just to prove his brother didn’t deserve a party.
Big brother, let’s just call him Mike, was more concerned about himself getting slighted that he was willing to slight himself. Mike was not too bright.
My name is Mike and I am often not too bright. I have to wonder, not because I am brilliant and think of lots of interesting things (I’m not too bright), but because someone mentioned this to me, what would have happened if the first person the prodigal ran into on the way back home was Mike?
I’m afraid the meeting might not have gone well and the prodigal may have turned and left home unwelcome and alone and the story may have ended with a prodigal dead in the pig slop and feces.
I think I forget that I too was a prodigal, without anything and wanting for nothing more than enough to survive and far too often I look down my nose till I’m cross-eyed at the poor brother of mine trying to get back home. I try to decide if they deserve to be restored to the family when the whole concept of getting what one deserves is not applicable to here.
Our father gives what he gives to all who come humbly to accept it. It isn’t my place to be angry or jealous or judgmental. It is my place to join the party and be glad another one hasn’t been lost forever in a cruel world.