“My son you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)
These are the words of the father to the eldest son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the parable the younger son asks for his inheritance, leaves the home of his father and elder brother, and goes to a distant land where he squanders the inheritance on loose living. He comes to his senses, and decides to return home. His father welcomes him home and has a feast to celebrate his return.
When the elder son finds out, he is resentful and refuses to join in the welcoming festivities. He complains to the father that he has always been obedient, but the father has never given him even a young goat to share with his friends. The father responds that the elder son is always with him and that everything the father has is the elder son’s.
What a beautiful illustration of God’s love for both sons. The loving forgiveness for the younger repentant son is obvious. The love for the elder son is more subtle. Some of us may have experienced times in our lives when like the elder son, we have experienced jealousy or resentment of the attention and forgiveness someone has received whom we deem unworthy.
We brood, we fume, we get ourselves all worked, but God says to us, “My son, my daughter, you are here with me every day, and I am always with you. Everything I have is yours – my grace, my love, my forgiveness, my healing; my promise of eternal life. All of these are mine which I share freely with you. Accept my love and the grace of these gifts. Accept my invitation to join in the family celebration!
Over the years, I have quietly struggled with being judgmental and seeking recognition. Like the older son, these sins set up barriers in me to experience the fullness of the Father’s love and grace. Not that the Father withholds his love and grace from me, but that these actions interfere with me being able to fully experience his love and grace.
Like the older son, do you set up barriers that interfere with your experiencing all that the Father has for you?