Have you ever thought about that older son (referring back to the post yesterday from The Parable of the Lost Son)? What were his thoughts about the whole situation?
Put yourself in his shoes. You have a sister, and you both work hard with you mother who will give you an inheritance when she passes away. Maybe you enjoy working with her, but maybe you just do it just because you know it’s what you’re supposed to do, and you’re afraid that if you don’t you will be taken out of her will. The younger sister just up and demands her money now so she can run off with a boy she met yesterday! And to top it off, she gets it! Although it didn’t happen quite like that, can you already feel how angry this brother would have been? Wouldn’t you be so mad knowing you are supposed to get that money too, but you’re doing the right thing by staying with your mom and working for her while your younger sister gets to take the money and go party with it?
What do you think you would do?
*Be tempted to do the same thing?
*Actually do the same thing?
*Stay and do the right thing but think about what all your sister is doing while your working ~ which, of course, only makes you more angry?
*Stay and do the right thing not thinking twice about what just happened with your sister?
What would you do?
The bible says that the older son stayed back, but it doesn’t go into detail with how he responded. We can only assume. What we do know is that he did stay back to do what he was supposed to do. When the younger son came home, though, we see that his brother was angry with the situation. It also sounds like there’s a possibility the only reason he stayed and worked with his dad was simply because he knew he would be rewarded for it.
Verses 28-30 say: The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 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. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
He’s letting his father know that he feels entitled to the “good stuff.” He’s the one who did the right thing, and his father hasn’t even said thank you.
Doesn’t that sound about right? How many times have you done the right thing and watched someone else having all the luck while doing all the wrong things ? Doesn’t it just make you mad? The thing is, you never know what that other person is going through. It may seem like they’re “lucky” or that they’re having all the fun, but more times than not, they are completely miserable, and the fun eventually runs out.
I am so guilty of this. Even in my spiritual walk. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, and I see people who turned away from God but came back, and all of a sudden they are getting blessed like crazy! Sometimes the enemy puts thoughts in my head that show an immaturity in myself. Sometimes I get frustrated wondering when my time will come, and why they received so many blessings or maybe even a leadership role that I had my eyes on. Is that really how God would want me to feel? I can tell you that it’s not. He wants me to be excited, just as he is, when someone comes back to him. I should share in celebrating their success, but that doesn’t mean my flesh doesn’t overtake me at times. None of us are immune to it.
Both sons felt entitled to the inheritance. They knew that it was waiting for them. They just both handled their situations in a wrong way, which caused them both to be unhappy. They didn’t enjoy the lives they were living.
There is an inheritance for us in Heaven. God is excited to give it to us, but I ask, What are you doing in the meantime?
*Are you demanding infinite blessings so that you can do what you want with them?
*Are you living life here on Earth just making it through the day until you die so you can collect your inheritance?
*Are you living life to its fullest doing what you know God called you to do and enjoying it knowing that one day you will get an inheritance but not dwelling on that knowledge?
God is good, and he is faithful. He tells us that we have an inheritance, and he also tells us that his salvation is not a gift of works but of faith. So our inheritance is not going anywhere regardless of our decisions. God wants us to make the right decisions but doesn’t abandon us when we make those mistakes. He desires for us to enjoy life and share who he is with others so they, too, may receive an inheritance. Oh, how so much easier it is to live a life not dewelling on our future inheritance and instead placing our focus on the calling God has placed on our lives.