At church yesterday the sermon was about the parable of the prodigal son. Mac did a great job of talking about everything Jesus was trying to teach us with this parable. Some of us (me included) may have thought he was just describing someone who lost their way and how happy God is when he came back home. That, of course, is an important point but that’s not all of the story. He is also describing those that have been Christians a long time and have not strayed at all. The older brother is representative of these long time Christians. He gets jealous of the party being thrown when his wayward brother returns home. Sometimes we as Christians do not understand how good things can happen to those that have done so many bad things. Some of us may not even think it’s fair that someone who has lived such a wild and sinful life can still be saved even in the 11th hour.
When the older brother gets jealous of the party being thrown for his brother he gets angry at his father. He tells his father “‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'” The father then says to his oldest son” My son, you have always been with me , and everything I have is yours. 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.”
Mac really taught me something new in this passage. It may seem unfair that someone can live their entire lives doing bad things but still be able to be saved even with their last breath. The difference is, if you have been blessed to have accepted Christ earlier and have lived your life for Him, then you’ve been able to enjoy the great blessings God has available to you. The longer you’ve been a believer the longer you’ve gotten to experience all that God has for you. You’ve been with Him, just as the father was trying to tell the brother that by him being at home with the father he enjoyed all the blessings that came with that privilege. The same is true for us. Those that stray their whole lives do not get to experience the joy and peace that God brings.
I also think it’s important to remember how God took each of us in so graciously. For me personally I lived 34 years not honoring or living for God. When it was my time God took me in with open arms and I am SO thankful that I cannot even put it in words. That’s the kind of God He is. The parable describes the “father” as RUNNING to his son that was returning home. That is how God reacts when we return. He doesn’t care when we return home, just that we return at all. I’m glad I turned home at 34 and not 74. That has allowed me 40 more years of enjoying God’s presence.