Every once in a while, a nuance in a song, a movie, or a book will arise from out of the complacency that comes from the expectations built in from the multiple listenings, viewings, and readings to stir something inside me. I almost skipped over the parable of the Prodigal Son this morning. I’ve read it a “million times,” so I get it. I understand. I’ve even been that guy. But it was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve grown as a man and as a Christian.
What struck me this morning was the reaction of the faithful son. In Luke, he doesn’t show up until the end. And he’s mad. OK, he’s pissed. He’s stuck it out. He’s been faithful in all things and wonders why the party isn’t for him. He’s earned it after all. His father’s words “all I have is yours” don’t resonate. “I’m the good one!” he seems to be saying. “I’m the one who has stuck it out and done the right thing! Doesn’t that count for anything?!
I’m not the Prodigal Son, I’m that guy. I’ve done my best to live the “Golden Rule,” you know, love my neighbor as myself, put others feelings and needs ahead of my own. Another bad thing, a small thing, happens, and I’m thinking “not even this can go right (or without a fight) for me?” on many days. I’ve put the work in, where is the party in recognition of my fighting the good fight? I haven’t asked for it, but “where is it?”
Sometimes, I just have to take a deep breath and remember the Father’s words, “all I have is yours,” even when I can’t feel the comfort those words should bring. The other half of the phrase, “you are always with me,” is a reminder of what J has said elsewhere, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Thank you, Lord, for a little perspective as I continue to fight through the enemy occupied territory that lies between myself and the prize.