|Most of the time when we hear this story, we focus on the foreground.. the son who has returned, we often miss the son in the background, toiling away in the field.|
Just about every Christian out there has heard the story of the prodigal son. We talk about it quite a bit, about how God's love is so powerful that he meets us where we are. That he runs out to us with open arms, and then pulls us back into his heart, his life, his home. Yet, most of the time we don't talk about the other son.
The other son is standing out in the field. He's upset. His father is having a party for the child who was wayward, but he's been here all along. He refuses to come to the party because all this time his father didn't even slaughter a goat for him and his friends! The father looks at him with love, and says "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours." Everything... everything he has is yours. That's a powerful thing to think about.
Many of us think about God like he's an ATM. We decide what we need to be happy, ah if I only had a new car, if I only had a few more dollars, if only I could do more at school, etc. We go to God in prayer and we consider faith our pin number, we pray "God give me that raise, cause that's what I need." What we need is God! God has already given us everything! All we have to do is receive it! Are we receiving it? It's not a bad thing to pray. It's a beautiful thing. Prayer, though, is a way of changing us to make us more like God. It's a moment in which we can indeed ask, but we can also praise, we can say "God, I thank you for all that you have given me for you have blessed me abundantly, way beyond anything I deserve. I don't know what you have in store for me in the future, but I know it is for my best. Help me to see your hand in every day, and to always give thanks for every blessing!"
Are you receiving all that God has offered? Or are you toiling away trying to earn them? We don't earn them. They are free. They are ours by grace! We should be in the field working through love, receiving God's abundant grace daily in the sacraments when we can, for they are offered every single moment of our lives! All His grace has been given to you already, all you need to do is receive it! You see the one Son learned his lesson, he realized in the end that God loves him despite his shortcomings, that God's love is free and given when we come home in repentance, while the other still toils away thinking he must earn His love.. even though he already has it.
His servant, and yours;
And he said, "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on * the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants."' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry. "Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"