Lent – Day 8
Lost On The Inside
“There was a man who had two sons…” Luke 15:11-32
Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.
Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.
I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.
Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?
When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.
A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.
Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.
The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.
The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.
Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.
If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?
If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?
Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?
Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.