During the prayer meeting the Lord drew me to the actions of the eldest son in the story. I am an eldest child and I’m sure most eldest children can relate to this story. Somehow you can develop a sense of responsibility to do the right thing to look after the younger to always try and give a good example. Somehow, sub-consciously, it feels like more is expected of you and you are often held responsible for the things that go wrong because ‘you should have known better than to do that’! However, in the Parable the eldest son had watched the younger receive a load of money from his father, leave home to do his own thing, leaving all the work around the home/farm firmly on the shoulders of the eldest son. The eldest son had watched the distress of the father over the time that the youngest was away and seen the effect of the worry and concern on him. There had been plenty of time and opportunity for unhealthy feelings and thoughts to spring up, take root and grow towards his younger brother while he had been working every day to support the family, to do the right thing, to be the consistent one, to shoulder the responsibility in other words to be the reliable good son. So, you can only imagine his feelings when one day he returns home after another hard day’s work and there is a party going on. A party he knows nothing about and certainly does not feel invited to, a party to celebrate the return of the very person he has come to despise and feel such resentment for. He is undoubtedly hurt beyond words, hurt so much that he would not even go into the house and join the party, instead he stayed outside nurturing his hurt and justifying his feelings.
|Source: Tell the Lord Thank You|
So, I asked the Lord; ‘how can I avoid and resist these thoughts and feelings when they arise’? He showed me the heart of the Father in the Parable. When the Father learned how upset the eldest son was he didn’t demand that he come to him, the father went to where the son was and he pleaded, yes pleaded, with him to come into the party. The father could have demanded the son come to him, he could have thought ‘actually, if he is going to behave so childishly and arrogantly, he can stay where he is, who does he think he is behaving like this?’ Instead, the father didn’t do that he went to where the son was and reasoned with him. I pondered on how often the Lord has graciously come to where I am and pleaded with me to come to him to come to the party to join in the blessing and abandon my selfish and resentful thoughts. However, even then the eldest son still railed against the father `you never did this for me you never did that for me, but this son who had done so much wrong and disrespected you is welcomed and celebrated, What about that!’ Boy, could I relate to some of these thoughts and feelings.
But then the Lord quietened me with just a few words which was the response of the Father; Luke 15:31 ‘My son you are always with me and everything I have is yours’. We need to stop and think what that really means. When we realize that our value is nothing to do with who we are but all to do with how God sees us, we can stop fighting for our own worth and recognition. The love of the father is demonstrated so wonderfully in those words; ‘my son you will never be separated from me I want you with me always, I value your presence that much and all I have; my love, my salvation, my protection, my plan and my purpose, my provision, my joy, my forgiveness, my blessing, my grace, my care and my compassion, is yours….. is yours already! It does not have to be earned or bargained for but its yours already just because you are my son’.
The eldest son reacted the way he did because in a moment of time he felt completely insecure and un-valued, the value he had placed in what he had been doing for the Father seemed to diminish in a second when he saw how the youngest son was being treated. If my self-value is only based on what I can do for God or achieve for Him or what standing I appear to have in the church etc. then it can be diminished in a moment. However, if my security/value lies in the way God values me; which he has shown to me by sending His only beloved son to die for me, then nothing can diminish that. Therefore, resentment and all the other unhealthy thoughts, feelings and often actions cannot find a place to grow because I know that the Father has said; ‘my son/daughter you are always with me and all that I have is yours’, this enables us to celebrate in all circumstances and enjoy the many parties God wants to throw for us and for others and we need never feel we have to stand outside again.
Author: Jan Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others