While the older brother had always done the right thing—he stayed home, worked for his father, and didn’t waste his inheritance on wild living—his self-centeredness caused him to miss out on a great celebration, and so much more.
Listen to how the Message translates verses 25-32—
"All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, 'Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.'I love the father’s words, “You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours.” How had this son done all of the right things, but miss the joy of relationship with his father and the blessings of being his child?
"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!'
"His father said, 'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"
Could it be because he thought he deserved better? Notice his words to his father. Basically he said, “I’ve never done anything wrong, yet you’ve never done anything for me!” Really? Could this son be that perfect? And has the father really neglected this son? It sounds like he had provided very well for him.
I wondered how many times I have been like the older son. I’m not talking about being upset when others get a party. But how many times have I missed the joy and blessings of being a child of God, simply because I was so focused on myself and what I thought I was lacking.
I don’t want to miss a moment of the celebration! I’m determined to really enjoy the relationship God offers me. And I don’t want to take ANY blessing for granted—I want to recognize His goodness and be truly thankful!
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