“Son…all that I have is yours.” Lk 15:31 NKJV
Don’t Be an Older Brother
In the parable of the prodigal son Jesus is talking to two different groups: regular people, and religious leaders who complain that Jesus “receives sinners” (Lk 15:2 NKJV). We all know the story. The Prodigal Son “blew it” and ended up in a pigpen. Later, when he returned home, his father threw a big party. But his older brother wouldn’t attend. Here was his reason: “‘These many years I have been serving you…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 [his father] said to him, ‘Son…all that I have is yours’” (Lk 15:29-31 NKJV). It’s the kind of thing you hear in church from people who lift themselves up by putting others down. Both sons spent time in the pigpen: one in the pigpen of rebellion, the other in the pigpen of resentment. One came home to a welcome, the other stayed home and wallowed in self-righteousness. Because of his judgmentalism, the older son ended up losing more than the younger one: (1) He forfeited the joy of knowing how much he was loved by his father. (2) As the oldest son he was entitled to twice as much of his father’s estate, yet he wasn’t able to enjoy a moment of it. (3) His younger brother was lost and hurting. What an opportunity to forgive, show grace, help to restore him and have a life-enriching relationship with him. But he forfeited it all because he was judgmental. Don’t be an older brother!