Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Luke 15:31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 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.’”
This is the ending of the beautiful story of the "Prodigal Son." Actually it's not just the ending of that story but the final phrase put on the end of three parables about the lost; The Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. Jesus had been speaking to the Pharisees -- those good church folk -- who had been the faithful followers of God through the ups and downs of life. They had been working so hard at being good people and serving God that the thought of those vile sinners turned them off. Now, Jesus comes and hangs out with those vile people and they are greatly disturbed. What in the world is he doing? So he shares with them these stories.
The stories begin with the sheep. Maybe there's not too much emotional attachment to that story but by the time he moves into the story about the son their emotions begin to engage. Who wouldn't want their son to be saved! And yet here, at the very end they find themselves in his story. They are the brother in this story and they know it!
The sad fact is that they have become so accustomed to being the spiritual leaders and to the comfort of their religious community that the idea of going out after the lost has become foreign to them. And the idea of throwing a party for a dirty, filthy sinner is beyond their comprehension!
What has happened to these Pharisees? They have become complacent in their faith. No longer do they burn with any type of passion for serving God or for finding the lost. Instead, they have become consumed with the daily routine of life. Yes, they do serve God and the kingdom on a daily basis but in a rather self-serving way.
We are not told about the final reaction of this brother -- we are left to consider this ourselves. But what is interesting is that he complains about his father spending money and giving up the fatted calf for this brother of his. How in the world could God give good things to this one who has lived such a foul life when the good servants of God have been hanging around all the time? In their complacency the Pharisees had forgotten that everything in the kingdom was available to them -- only they had never plugged into it or utilized what God had. The brother could have thrown a party for his friends any time that he wanted! While he was there with his father, he had literally inherited every single thing that his father owned.
Have we forgotten that we are children of the kingdom and that we have already inherited everything that the Father has? Or are we living a very meager existence, poor-mouthing ourselves on a daily basis because God doesn't do much for us! Maybe "we have not because we ask not!" All the brother had to do was to ask -- but he chose not to.
This very day we are invited to come boldly before the throne of God. God wants to provide us with strength and power from the Holy Spirit, if only we will ask him! Or have we become so complacent in our spiritual walk that we can't even imagine the party!
Lord, I praise you for all you've done for me. Thank you for allowing me to be a child of your inheritance. Please, help me to live and walk in all you have provided for me. Amen.