Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 9 August 19:
Luke 15:29 — “I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.”
Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son is as much about the older son who remained as it is about the wayward son or the father. Though the older son faithfully stayed with the Father and served him, he did not share the Father’s heart of compassion and grace – he was not “one” with the father in spirit. The older son’s motivation was recognition and his future inheritance. While the father was overjoyed with the wayward son’s return, the ‘faithful’ son didn’t share his father’s joy. Instead, the older son had a heart of pride and resentment towards His brother, and in his pride, he judged both his brother and his father. The self-righteous arrogantly demand justice be administered against others, forgetting their own reliance on grace and the blessings they have received from God. The self-righteous display the traits of the flesh — anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy, etc. Sin is a loss of perspective of who God is, who we aren’t, and what God desires. Sin is a lack of love, separation from God, and defiance to God. When we display sinful attitudes towards others it is because we have made ourselves more important than God in our own eyes. This is idolatry.
Consider what the older son in this story has in common with Martha, Mary’s sister – “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:40-42)
“It is possible to serve God year after year and yet have a heart that is far from Him. You might be one of the hardest workers in your church and yet be filled with bitterness because others do not share your load. You can become so preoccupied with your spiritual labors that when God works miracles in the lives of those around you, you cannot rejoice. If you serve the Lord out of pride, duty, or habit, but not out of love, joy, and gratitude, you will feel like a martyr. You will envy those who are experiencing joy in the Lord while you feel weighed down by the work you are doing. This is not the abundant life your Father has planned for you. Come to the celebration, spend time with the Father, and share in His joy!” [Henry T. Blackaby]
Luke 15:31, 32 – 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.”
Eternal life is knowing Jesus — relationship with Jesus is our reward, both on earth and in Heaven. We should not desire anything else in life or envy the wicked who pursue other things. Our earthly joy should be both in knowing Jesus but also in helping others know Him too; loving Him wholeheartedly and loving others as He has loved us; displaying the grace to others that God has displayed to us. We should not resent the sinner but hope that they would come to Jesus. Rejoice in the grace given to those who are or were once trapped in sin.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 August 19: Luke 15 is all about God’s desire for His lost people to repent and return to Him through Jesus, reuniting with Him. Today, make your total desire knowing Jesus more and more and helping others do the same.