Johannes gives us some great thoughts on the ‘elder brother’...
I hope you have read the full text on the prodigal son on Monday if not you can read it here .
The young son left home spend all his money and then regretted his decision and went back home expecting nothing and was just hoping to get a place to stay and food to eat at his father’s home. This boy was not expecting anything due to the choices he had made.
Then we read about the older brother who played the role of the good son. This was probably the type of guy that had people in town saying man what a good son. He is taking such good care of his dad. What a good heart he must have to work like that. And this sure had an effect on the son just like it does me and you. Let’s read his response to his dad welcoming his younger brother home.
“Now his older 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 these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 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 15:25-32
See the problem? This boy was not the humble servant after all. He was so caught up in his good deeds and his hard work towards what he will get one day. See it was not so much about helping dad it was about what I can get. We call this entitlement that turned to jealousy.
What does this have to do with our life? If you are like the older brother that goes to work every day, makes good choices, works hard and does your part in day to day life, you may start to entitle yourself to thinking you deserve certain things. Then one day the one that blew it all turns his life around. This could be someone that basically did not want your advice when they were off tract. Someone gives them a chance to prove themselves. People start liking them and they start doing well. Instead of being happy for them jealousy sets in. This especially happens if you did not receive a lot of praise or thank you for your actions. We tend to get mad and say 'what about me’ or 'why does he get all the praise when I have worked hard all my life and no one says anything about me’!?
This shows our true heart. Sadly, we really never cared about individuals...all we cared about was what we will get one day.
Let me tell you that without God watching over you, you would not be anything the bible says in Job 1:21 ……… the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. See Job got it. Instead of thinking we deserve more than others, or that we deserve anything at all, we must remind ourself that all of this is the Lord’s and He can choose to take it at any time.
Next time you feel you are entitled to more, and you feel jealousy creep in, remind yourself that God can choose to change your situation in an instant. Thank God for what you have and give Him all the Glory. You might just get a chance to turn a prodigal back to Him by living a life of example.