Bible Reading: Luke 15:11-12, 25-32
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' "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!' "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
As we continue our reflections on the parable of the prodigal son, which might also be called the parable of the lost son, I wonder with which of the two sons you most identify? Is it the younger son who took his inheritance, squandered it on riotous living and then returned home, cap-in-hand. Or is it the older son, loyal, faithful, and obediently working at home?
We know that there was a time when the younger son was lost to his father and, when he came to his senses he returned home knowing he would be better off than he was, even if he was only treated like one of his father’s servants. But look again at what the older son said,
“All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”
Are they the words of a son to his loving father? Do they not sound more like the words of a slave to his master? Is it possible, then, that we should see the older son as lost to his father? Not lost to his father in the sense that he had left home and squandered his half of the inheritance, but lost in the sense that his relationship with his father was not that the relationship you would expect between a father and a son.in which case, could we re-name Jesus’ teaching ‘the parable of the lost sons’?
Can you look back at times when you feel you have been slaving away, doing all the right things, for others and for God, but never seeming to get the recognition, while someone else makes mistakes, muddles along and still manages to come out shining? If that is the case, look again at the father’s words to his older son,
'My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours…”
In different ways, both of the sons were lost to their father, and we too can be lost to our heavenly Father in different ways. But, through faith in Jesus we are neither lost nor slaves, we are free, sons of God and co-heirs with Christ.
Father God, thank you that I need never be lost to you.
Help me to live in the assurance of your unconditional love and in the blessings that are mine as a son or daughter of the living God.
Father God I wonder