“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” ~Luke 15:28, 31
Recently, I was feeling a little grumpy thinking about some upcoming events. I had the pretty common complaint, to myself, about people showing up late, but still getting the “prize bag”. You know, that feeling that you have followed all the rules, and someone else just breezes by you and gets the same prize as you. And as I was congratulating myself on being such a ‘good person’ I came to the uncomfortable realization that I am the “older brother” from the Prodigal Son.
We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son, and we love it! Who doesn’t love a story where someone screws up royally, sees the error of their ways, and then heads home to forgiveness and open arms? We love that story because we know that we are the prodigal son! We do have our screw ups, and we do come to see the error of our ways, and the Lord is always waiting with open arms and forgiveness. However, the other side of that is inevitably we may have our days when we become the older son.
There are days when we feel like we have it all together. We just know that we are doing everything the way that we should, and it is easy for resentment to creep in. There we are following all the rules, doing the right thing, just rocking at life, and then some rule breaker just skips past us to get the same thing! And we begin to wonder if it’s really worth it. Yet, the story tells us that the father welcomes and loves both. The father goes outside, and pleads with his older son- “Everything I have is yours.”
We can be the prodigal son and the older son. So, despite the difficulty, if we keep working at that older son’s path God tells us that everything he has is ours. Sounds pretty good to me!