“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered 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!”
Luke 15:28-30 (NIV) (read vs. 10-32)
The story of the prodigal son is one that most of us so very familiar with. We may think that this is a good parable to use for evangelizing, but we must realize that as believers we always need the lessons of this account reapplied on ourselves before we use it as a witnessing passage to the unsaved. We major mostly on the son who squandered all his inheritance and we forget there was one who was left with the father but he never knew who he was.
We are all sons of God Most High; we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ and partakers in His eternal Kingdom. But what is all this if we do not know and act like it? How many of us are prodigal sons within the Kingdom? If you do not know you are God’s, then you are a prodigal son too. Take a look at vs. 25-32. The son comes from the fields and meets the servants who are preparing a feast. When he learns that his younger brother is back and his father had called for the celebration, he gets upset (vs. 28).
Here are a few lessons that we can learn/re-apply in our lives:
Let us consider that the father’s love for his sons was impartial, when the elder saw as though the younger one was well received he was offended. This is one of the characteristics of people who do not know who they are; they get jealous when others get what seems like preferential treatment.
Secondly, when you don’t know who you are in your father’s house, you behave immaturely even if you are the eldest child. A childish son will not understand anything no matter how sensibly you explain to him. The elder son asks his father why he has not been rewarded for his loyalty to him. We complains that has never even given a young goat to make merry with his friends, while his brother, who should be punished for his disloyalty, is ,in fact, rewarded.
Lack of knowledge
When you do not know your privileges as a son you will not realize that you have an inheritance. This loyal son did not comprehend that he had everything his father owned at his disposal. In Greek, a son or a child who has not attained the age of accountability is called Teknion; a son who has matured is known as huios. And when a teknion attains to a huios, everything that is his by right will then become legally his. But you may ask, why then did the father release the inheritance to the younger son? This is what I believe is the answer: There are some things that we cannot learn unless we are allowed to make our own mistakes. Then when we have come to the end of ourselves, we come back to our senses and see our own shortcomings. Then, and only then, do we humbly ask for help from those higher than us. The younger son was not really part of the family before his disobedience, but after his humiliation he became a true son.
Take your place
God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (see Ephesians 1:3) and given us richly all things to enjoy (see 1 Timothy 6:17) but we live strangers in our own land. It is true we are working in the vineyard of God, yet how unfortunate that many of us are just like this ignorant elder son. We do not take our rightful place in our Father’s house. But as we earnestly seek to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), the Holy Spirit will testify to our spirits that we are the children of God (see Romans 8:16 ).
PS! This is an article I contributed to the Grace Today Magazine of House of Grace Church (www.houseofgrace.or.ke).
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