2 Samuel 9-11 Luke 15:11-32
“So the son left and went to his father. While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 NCV)
The problem with Jesus’s parables is that as much as I say I’d be like the hero of the story, too often my attitudes are more like the bad guy. The bad guy acts more natural. The bad guy acts according to societal norms. Think about this parable of The Prodigal Son. We have three main characters. The prodigal who wanders away and squanders all his money. The big brother who’s hard working and never caused his dad any problems, and the Father – heartbroken by the actions of his youngest son. The youngest, the spendthrift, takes the money that should have been his inheritance and wastes it. Maybe the dad had heard rumors about his son’s change of heart, maybe it was habit or an everyday prayer for his son’s return. Whatever the case may have been, the dad kept watching and waiting for his wayward son to come to his senses. Meanwhile, the faithful older son keeps working on the farm. The prodigal returns home to the father’s joy. Dad spends prodigiously and throws a party for the younger son. The older son comes home to the celebration and has a pity party because his dad, who never so much as had a wine and cheese party for him has pulled out all the stops to celebrate his younger son’s return.
Many people might consider the father in this story lax. What this kid deserved was to be sent to bed without any supper, if he should even get a place to sleep. Still, it’s obvious who the hero of this story is. What’s also obvious is that the father is supposed to show a picture of who God is. He let his youngster make mistakes, but His love for the kid is so great that when he came home after he realized his mistakes, dad threw a party to celebrate the kid’s return. He wasn’t lax, He was forgiving. Don’t we all wish we could be this forgiving? Sadly, I tend to be more like the older brother. I’ve worked hard for the father. I deserve all kinds of good things because of my work. What I see instead is the little brat getting rewarded for finding his way home, while I’ve been out working all this time, and I don’t like it. The only one who understood the magnitude of his sin was the younger son who hoped his dad would trust him enough to give him a job. I’ve been the younger brother. I needed God’s grace to be reconciled with Him. It’s funny how easy it was to transform into the older brother and think the Father is too forgiving in His discipline after I’ve followed Him for a while. When I think about it, I never would have been able to be like the older brother, if God hadn’t welcomed me when I was like the younger brother. When I turned to Him, He came running to welcome me into the Kingdom of God. How much better life would be if I’d learn to rejoice when others came to faith instead of wondering when they’ll get what they deserve for the things they before they met Jesus. May I learn to rejoice like the Father when people repent and turn back to Him.
Lord, even though You’ve forgiven me so greatly, I forget too easily and wonder how You could love people like the younger brother. Remind me that I was once the younger brother who received Your grace. Help me show Your grace to others.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.