The story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-31 can teach us a lot about God and how He relates with us; and while I’m sure that the story itself has been covered extensively by many different people it’s still amazing that the scripture can still speak today and give new insights.
The story of the prodigal son tells of a young son who decides to ask his father for his share of the inheritance. He consequently goes on to life a frivolous life and ends up wasting his inheritance after which he ends up back at his father’s house, repentant and humbled. Whilst many people might cover this from the younger son’s angle. I would like to cover this from the perspective of the older brother and how that relates to us and those of us maturing in the faith.
In respect to this, the focus will be on verses 28-31. From these verses, we can see that the older brother was angry and jealous that his father had such a positive response to his younger brother’s return and wasn’t negative towards him. Personally, reading this, I could sympathise and understand the older brother’s response in that I’m sure he must have thought it unfair that he had never received such a reception despite the fact that he worked hard, day and night for his father and that he never thought himself high enough as to disrespect his father by asking for his inheritance early like his younger brother did. However, in as much as I understood how the older brother must have felt, it reminded me of how some of us in the church might feel.
Now I know this is not everyone, which is why I’m highlighting the word some of us. I for one can definitely say that I have felt the same way at one point or the other. You see someone who has just been recently born again and you witness the amazing things that God is doing in that person’s life, and it makes you feel like; hold on… aren’t we serving the same God? Why does so so and so have this and I have been waiting and praying for the longest time for the same thing; serving God diligently, being planted in His church and in His word. Even more, I’ve paid my tithes faithfully and haven’t missed a Sunday at church. So why does this person seem to have gotten so much from God in such a short amount of time and I, who have worked so hard and faithfully in God’s house have not received the same?
What really got me is the father’s reaction to his eldest son’s complaint in which he basically told him that, hey… everything I have is yours. You have as much right to throw yourself a party and to do what I’ve done for your brother for yourself. And this really struck me.
We can be so focused on what God is doing for someone else that we lose sight of what He has done and is doing for us, even in the background that we’re not aware of. It’s important for us to look back and remember; to remind ourselves of what God has done for us and to be grateful! In the case of that new believer, what you see is just the start of God’s mercy on that life rather than comparing, why not look back and think back and remember all the mercies that God has shown you in your many years of journeying with Him. Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s beginning. You cannot have gotten as far as you did without the grace and mercy of God so be thankful, and be grateful! Throw yourself a party to celebrate how far God has brought you and rejoice in the fact that someone else can now begin to revel and bask in the love and mercy of God and be transformed by Him just as you were. For that person was once a sinner but they have now come to the knowledge of God which should be celebrated, and thankfully was celebrated in the case of the prodigal son (Luke 15:32).
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15 (NIV)
Keep the light burning! 😊