Almost everyone has heard the story of the Prodigal Son. A young man asks his wealthy father for his inheritance. He blows the money on wine, women and song then comes crawling back home to ask his father to take him back as a servant. His father is overjoyed and throws him a party. This is an inspiring story that reminds us no matter how much screw up, God is waiting, eagerly, for us to come back to him.
I’d like to focus today on the rest of the story…the small ending that is sometimes left out when people share the story of the Prodigal Son: the story about his brother. His brother isn’t so much of a wimp as he is a whiner. Given that many of us wimps easily fall into the category of whiners, I thought it would be fitting to add him to our list.
Read Luke 15:25 – 31 for yourself.
In summary, the brother learns that his long lost sibling has returned and their father is throwing a party. He is not happy; he refused to even go into the party. His father assures him “everything I have is yours” (verse 31), but points out that they need ”to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again” (verse 32). It’s not clear from the story whether or not he joins the party…hopefully he did.
There are a few lessons we can learn from this young man:
- Check your motives. We don’t get much information about the relationship between the father and son, but it’s obvious that this son does not think he’s been properly recognized for his years of labor. Did he do it for the recognition or did he do it because it was the right thing to do? On this earth there won’t always be rewards for doing the right thing, but we still need to do them.
- Put people first. The brother was so upset about being snubbed that he missed the great God moment that was going on in his brother’s life. His father went so far as to call his brother dead. What’s more important – getting a pat on the back or seeing someone make a huge turnaround in life?
- “Everything is yours.” We are fortunate enough to have the richest daddy in the universe…heck, he created the universe! Do we get so wrapped up in petty stuff that we miss the big picture? The father cared enough about this young man’s feeling to beg him to join the party. Again showing his son that there was plenty to go around…plenty of money AND plenty of love.