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The Elder Boy...

We are all familiar with the story of the prodigal sun. It is a story of grace and the nature of God that is so well told and so packed with truth that it transcends history, circumstance, and culture. There are many things that the younger brother can teach us in this story, many things we learn about The Father from the Father in the story, and a few things that even the older brother teaches us.

Reflecting on this story, I realize there are three things worth meditating on and disciplining ourselves toward. The story is in Luke 15 (Click the link to view). Consider the following -

1) A sense of personal injustice should never stop us from rejoicing at restoration (26).

How sad that we are often so selfish that we let our issues rob others of something extraordinary. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about restoration – humanity returning to God. There is no greater joy than when the wandering heart finds its home. Yet, how sad that we tarnish such joy with our selfish issues! We see this played out in our young children when a great gift has been given that isn't exactly what they wanted. The perceived offense robs the giver of great joy. How often do we act childishly about issues of restoration when we should be filled with childlike rejoicing?

2) Being reasonable is not radically enough to change the world (29).

The older brother is, in one sense, incredibly reasonable. His facts are accurate and fair. He had worked diligently and obediently. He had earned, with hard sweat and labor, what his young brother had stolen and abused. But reason alone isn't enough to change the world. All the logic and reason available could not have offered redemption to the younger sibling. It's not that reason that is wrong; it's just that it's not enough. It will move us forward, but we need to move further forward. Redemption is not reasonable, but it is the only thing that changes the world. Don't settle for that which is 'just' reasonable. Be glad that God is not fair.

3) When we are consumed by pride and our 'rights,' we cannot think logically (31).

The Father's response to his son's rationale is more than reasonable. He affirms his love relationship with his son and that everything he has belongs to him. Logically, he explains his delight that his lost son has returned. However, the older son is so consumed with pride and selfishness that he is unable to think logically. How often this is true of us – once our pride is stirred, our feelings hurt, and our security challenged, these emotions seem to override our sense of logic – a logic that will create the win-win situation of us being able to both give and receive the Father's love.

I don't want to have the attitude of this older brother. It's not one that befits a child of the Father.

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