"My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:31-32 NIV).
When the younger brother came home and the older brother heard the celebration, he became angry and resentful. He refused to join in the celebration. The father went out to him and listened to his frustrations. His father gave him the freedom to vent his anger. After the son expressed his disgust, the father told him, "You are always with me, and everything I have is yours."
We don't know how the older brother responded. Most of the time we assume the father's words had no impact on him. We usually conclude that the older brother continued with his own party — a pity party — and missed the celebration. But just maybe Jesus didn't include that ending because he wants us to respond to the father's statement!
I wonder what life would be like for us if we really believed the father's statement as the promise of our heavenly Father. What would happen if we focused on the Father's statement, "Everything I have is yours"?
When I focus on the Father's statement, there is no need for me to be envious of anyone else. I would have everything I need.
When I focus on the Father's statement, celebrating with others is much easier.
When I focus on the Father's statement, rejoicing with others is much easier.
When I focus on the Father's statement, sharing what I have with others is not a problem.
Just so you won't forget!When I focus on the Father's statement, I do not hold on to things so tightly.
When I focus on the Father's statement, I can welcome my rebellious brother or sister back home without any hesitation.
When I focus on the Father's statement, I can live my life with gratitude and joy and hope.
I don't know how the story really ends, but I like to think that the older brother accepted what his father said. I hope that his attitude was changed and his heart was softened. I like to think that he went inside, found his brother, put his arms around him, welcomed him home, and joined the celebration. I like to think that, but I don't know for sure.
What I do know for sure is that when I focus on the Father's statement, I am changed, my heart is softened, I am free to love, and my life improves. Maybe remembering our Father's promise will help you, too.
Just so you won't forget, the Father told us, "Everything I have is yours."