He was so happy. His younger son had returned home safe and sound. He had called for a celebration. He had his servants kill the best calf. He had a nice robe placed on his younger son along with a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. But as they celebrated, his oldest son was unhappy.
His oldest son returned from the field to find the celebration taking place. When he asked a servant why they were celebrating, the servant told him that his brother had returned safe and sound and that their father wanted to celebrate. Upset by this news, the oldest son went to his father.
His oldest son argued how he was obedient and that his father had never given him a fatted calf for him and his friends to celebrate. Then, he argued that the younger son had destroyed his father’s property with things of the world, but he received the best. His oldest son was right. His brother had done those things while he had been faithful. The father acknowledged that his oldest son had remained faithful, and the reward was all that the father owned. But understanding the greater significance, his father stated that it was good to celebrate because his younger brother was dead in his sins and but now alive, was lost but now found.
Source: Luke 15:11-32
- How would you have felt if your sibling or a friend had done what the younger son did but was seemingly rewarded for his behavior?
- How did the older brother feel?
- Do you think the older brother had the right reaction? Why or why not?
- When you are consistently working and doing good, do you expect a reward, or do you do it because it is the right thing to do? Why?
- Everything the brother said about his younger brother was right. If you were the younger brother and you heard the things the older brother said, how would you feel?
- The father affirmed that his oldest son had been faithful and that he would receive his reward, but what did he want his oldest son to understand?
- Why is it better to focus on the good versus the bad?
- The younger brother was spiritually dead, but now, he was spiritually alive. The younger brother was spiritually lost, but now he was spiritually found. What did that mean for the younger brother, for the family?
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ Luke 15:31-32 ESV
- Acknowledge how people feel.
- Bless the faithful.
- Focus on the good.
- See the importance that redemption can bring.
Father God, sometimes, life seems so unfair, especially when it seems wrongdoers are blessed. Help us to see situations from your perspective. Give us a greater understanding of why you choose to bless despite people’s past behavior. Help us to remain faithful though it may be hard and help us to focus on that which is good. We know that redemption will have a greater impact on people’s lives. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Comment: Why is it more important for us to focus on someone being redeemed, made right with God, versus looking at their past?