I Am the Older Son Too

Reflections on Luke 15:11-32

After reading Jesus’ story of the prodigal son, I’m struck with how much I resonate with this character. As the prodigal, I’ve left the Father to go my own way and take life into my own hands only to make a mess of things and find that life is not there.  Will I return home a slave thinking I will only find acceptance and forgiveness if I remorsefully come to You as an indentured servant?  Or will I return home humbly accepting Your love, grace, and compassion for me despite what I’ve done, seeing myself through Your eyes as one who stands forgiven because of the righteousness I have in Christ?

But, Lord, I realize that more often than not, I am the older son. As the older son, when I stay near You and obey You, do I see myself as worthy of what You have to give based on what I do right?  Or do I truly understand that my worth is not tied to my behavior?  Do I understand that the blessing of the feast isn’t contingent on my ability to live poorly or well, to disobey or obey but that You provide the feast because of who You are (Your character and heart).

Whether far away in a distant land living my own way (like the prodigal) or living on Your property being an obedient daughter who stays near (like the older son), will I realize no matter what state I’m in that I need to be close to You?  Because even if I don’t get the “feast,” the reward isn’t the fatted calf – not the stuff or desires of my heart or a smooth, easy life or greatness or health or wealth – the reward is You.  Those who choose to stay near to You and heed Your voice have the privilege of being near You and staying close to You that we might be with You, learn Your will and way, and cultivate in relationship with You. This nearness, this relationship with You is worth everything – it is everything.

Do I live with a consistent awareness of the incredible value of relationship with You?  Or do I stay and obey like the dutiful older son, seeing myself more like a beloved servant rather than a beloved daughter?  Do I understand that Your love and compassion are there for me no matter what I do?  For, Lord, You do not change but are faithful in Your love for us.

Do I sulk when I don’t find life is filled with the “rewards” I expect for doing right? Or do I realize the great privilege of being close to You and remaining by your side?  Do I daily recognize Your presence with me and the tremendous gift You are to me?  Do I take full advantage of the opportunity I have in staying to come to You because You have given me full access to all that You are when I come?

Am I really willing to sell all that I have for You in return?  Am I prepared to turn everything I am over to You and let You have control in exchange for Your Kingdom?  Because You’re reminding me that I need to lose my life to find it in You.  I must come and come daily, moment by moment, if I am to experience intimate relationship with You and truly understand that as Your daughter, You’re not withholding a thing from me.  All that You have is indeed mine.

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