How to react

Morning

Luke chapter 15 verses 29:32 is towards the end of the story of the prodigal son and reads “So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.  It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'” 

What can we learn from the father in this story? After all, if anyone was wronged in this parable, it was the two young men’s loving father. Instead of reacting with the bitter hatred, envy, and self-centeredness of his elder son, he handled the situation with love, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. His wise words to his elder son in verses 31-32 help to put everything in its proper perspective.

In essence, the father tells his offended son, “Don’t be so short-sighted, lest you become as greedy and foolish as your little brother. All that we have here is yours, so keep your eyes on the bigger picture and the greater reward.”

We all long to feel appreciated—to receive our “fatted calf”—particularly if we strive to sacrifice and work hard in service to others. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the purpose of our faithful service is not for a pat on the back or the approval of others. Otherwise, we are no different from the Pharisees who did their works before men and thus, as Christ declared, “Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6).

No, our aim in all we do is to seek first the Kingdom of God. So at work, my primary aim if I can remember is to be seeking first Gods Kingdom. For this I need Gods help!!

While both sons’ sinful attitudes and actions brought dishonour upon the father, his willingness to forgive them both provided hope for all, just as our merciful Father in heaven provides for each of us. While the narrative ends without revealing what happened to the two brothers, I like to imagine that they reconciled—that they healed their relationship and restored honour to the family name. This would mean there is always hope for reconciliation.

Have a great week

Mark

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