Sunday, July 17, 2016

Luke 15:25-32

Luke 15:25-32
“And his older son was in the field.  And as he came in, he drew near to the house.  He heard music and dancing.  And after calling one of the young slaves, he was asking, ‘What is this?’  And he said to him, ‘Your brother is here.  And your father killed the fattened calf because he received him being safe and sound.’  And he was angry, and he did not desire to go in.  And after the father came out, he was calling to him.  And answering, he said to the father, ‘Behold!  How many years do I work as a slave for you and never did I go away from your commandment?  And you never gave to me even a young goat in order that I should be in celebration with my friends.  But whenever this son of yours came, who devoured your life with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him!’  But he said, ‘Child, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.  And it was necessary to be glad and to rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead, yet he lived.  And after being destroyed, he was being found.’”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Now we get into the other end of the human perspective.  Jealousy enters the picture.  The other son is coming in from a hard day’s work and begins to understand what has happened.  He’s the loyal son.  He’s been here every day, working the land.  Yet the younger brother, who goes and frivolously spends his inheritance comes back and he receives a celebration.  Naturally the older son gets jealous.  We all understand that dynamic.  But it’s so very wrong.  You see, the father isn’t celebrating the return of a favored son; he is celebrating a relationship that was broken is now restored.  The older son is jealous because he is worried about competing for top status.  He should step back and appreciate that a restored relationship is far more significant than pecking order.

Do you ever get jealous and stop looking at the big picture?  Why is jealousy such a huge issue with human beings?

Second Thought:

Before we leave this issue of jealousy, let’s probe a little more deeply into the effects of the jealousy.  Do you hear what Jesus teaches?  The older son allows the jealousy to turn into anger.  It’s bad enough to be jealous.  But when the jealousy turns into full-blown anger, the man risks losing control.  He risks not being able to see circumstance properly.  When we get angry, we typically lose perspective.  This is really what is at the heart of the older son’s inability to see the reason for celebration.  His jealousy, wrong but understandable, turns into anger and clouds his judgment.

When has anger gotten the best of you?  When do you let other emotions feed into your anger?

Third Thought:

Look at the actions of the father.  When the older son can’t bring himself to come in, the father goes out.  When the older son exposes his anger, the father replies with truth.  The father sets perspective in order to help the older son be able to see what his anger does not let him see.  The father also reminds him of his true circumstance.  The father tells the son that everything he has is the older son’s.  The younger son has already spent his inheritance.  What remains is the older son’s.  There is no reason to be jealous.  The return of the younger son hasn’t changed anything; it merely gave the father reason to experience joy.  The father helps set the true context for the older son, even in spite of the anger.

Have you had the experience of a parent or mentor helping you come through anger?  What does it truly feel like to be in the midst of anger and have someone else try and change your perspective?  What does this say about the father and the love he has for both of his sons?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 16:1-9
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