take your inheritance…

inheritance2.jpg

How many times have you read the parable of the prodigal son?  Tons of times right?!  Well maybe you yourself haven’t read it tons of times, but you have probably heard it more than a few times in your life if you or anyone you know go to church.  The story is trancends generations, ages, genders, and within its words is a timeless message–although you may attempt to go your way, squander your wealth, exhaust your resources and in the process probably screw up royaly, there is always someone looking out for you, waiting with open arms for your return.  It’s a parable about one of two brothers–one asks for his inheritance early so he can go out and make a life for himself (this is our main character who finds out later he did this prematurely), the other brother (the one who is often looked over in this parable) was a hard-working laborer and loyal son to his father.  Let’s go to the scriptures…

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
But when he has spent all, there arose a severe famine in the land, and he began to be in want.”
 

Read on the surface one may only see that thses few scriptures above speak only of the younger and more self-serving brother–the one who screwed up.  I want to go deeper though…I want to show you what I found.

Time and time again this parable only speaks of the younger, more foolish brother.  But what about the older, more responsible brother.  Doesn’t he seem to miss out on the blessing?  Doesn’t it initially seem unfair to him to stick around and do the right thing?  His father isn’t even dead yet, and yet the other brother sees his younger brother given his inheritance without question.  What’s going on here?

We already know that the younger brother comes back and asks his father for forgiveness.  We know that his father welcomed him home with open arms–to the point of giving his foolish son shelter, food, clothing and even putting a ring on his finger.  This father threw a large party for everyone–one that was throw in his younger sons honor.  Let’s fast-forward past all of this and get down to the nitty-gritty with the older brothers reaction.

 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”

I can personally identify with the feelings and sentiment of the older brother.  This situation oddly seems unfair, especially since he had done everything right.  Yes, it’s selfish to not celebrate your brother coming back home unschathed and alive, but that’s not the point.  I am sure that this older brother cared for his younger brother, considering he knew exactly what his brother spent his inheritance on (meaning he kept a close eye on his brother even though he left for a far country) but his selfishness and lack of foresight inhibited him from seeing what his real issues were.  The older brother thought it was unfair that he did not recieve his inheritance from his father, just like his younger brother.  I believe at the time it was unheard of for a father to give out the inheritance that he had for his son before his own death.  But we see that the father gave his younger son his portion of his inheritance willingly.  What about the older son?  The older son saw what his father was doing, and yet said nothing.  Maybe the older son thought that his father would just give it to him without him asking.  Maybe he thought that of either of them, he thought he was the most qualified to recieve his inheritance–I mean look at him…he was responsible, he did what his father commanded, and most important of all, he was the eldest son.  How is this younger brother of his going to get everything, get his inheritance, and squander it foolishly?  I’m sure the older of the two brothers was thinking, ‘How much more wise am I than him?  I could have done a million things with my inheritance if my father had only given me my portion.  I surely wouldn’t have wasted it all on frivilous spending.’

Are you following…can you relate?  Put yourself in the eldest sons position and tell me if this situation feels good to your flesh and emotions…  I think it would be fair in saying that this situation would suck…do you agree?

But before we get ahead of ourselves and begin to justify feeling the way that we would feel if we were in the eldest brothers shoes, lets re-examine the scriptures one more time.  I think we missed something…something that I have read over and over again, not noticing and not recognizing what the father initially said.  I’ll make it plain for you and put it in bold.

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
But when he has spent all, there arose a severe famine in the land, and he began to be in want.”

 

“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”

Do you see it?  The father divided to both his sons the inheritance that he had for them–all the while the older brother was so consumed with what his younger brother was doing (practically disrespecting his father and slapping him proberbially in the face) that he did not hear nor see what his father gave to him.  The inheritance was sitting there waiting for the eldest brother to take it, but he never knew it.  He was too consumed with his flesh and his emotions that he missed the blessing completely.  He missed what his father proclaimed was his because he was too busy being upset, irritated, and for lack of a better word, pissed off.  The eldest brother was busy pointing out the faults and wrong doings of his younger brother.  He was too busy complaining about what his younger brother received and he himself had been denied.  He was jealous of his younger brother because he got the blessing and he was left with nothing.  The word says: “Do not let your heart envy sinners…” and that’s exactly what the older brother allowed to happen.

In retrospect I see here that the older brother was severly deceived.  His father had and gave him an inheritance, but he was to ignorant and selfish to recieve it.  How many of us if we are honest with ourselves have at one time or another been like this older brother.  How many of us have said, “It’s not fair that these people out in the world get to do this and do that with no consequences.  It’s not fair that rich people like Paris Hilton can squander their money and then run back to daddy for help.  It’s jacked up that people who least deserve great things are given them, only for them to mess everything up.  It’s jacked up that I’m more responsible, I’m nicer, I’m a good person, and yet I always seems that I get the short end of the stick.”  I was this person.  I was the person who saw people who were ‘less saved’ than me excel and get the blessing.  I was so consumed with the unfairness of it all…so consumed with being the victim…so consumed with asking why that I did not see what my heavenly Father had laid out before me.  He has a blessing for us all…He has an inheritance for us all…the question is:  will you take your inheritance (that which the Lord God has given and provided especially for you)…or will you be consumed and enfatuated with seeing the inheritance of others…?  Make a choice…make a decision today…

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~ by visionaryvanguard on Monday, 2007 June 25.

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