Saturday, July 15, 2017
Saturday Sermonette - The Good Son
“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.’ Luke 15:25-30, NKJV.
Several years ago, I spoke to a church congregation about the story of the prodigal son because it's basically my story (to read the whole thing, it's Luke 15:11-42). Afterwords, one of my friends came up to me and told me that story had always bothered her. When I asked why, she said that she'd been "the good son" and felt resentful of the jerk who misbehaved (understatement) but still got rewarded, big time. She'd been the one who stayed home and took care of the farm, the parents, and in general gave her parents no reason for heartache. And what did she get for all the goodness? Nada. Nothing. Zip.
In the Biblical story and in my friend's story I see two very big issues, and it's not about who was good or who was bad or who got rewarded. It's about jealousy and pride. Can you see it?
The green monster bit the good son good and hard, and he wasn't about to forgive and forget. Instead, he went and sulked in a corner. He could have joined in the fun, eaten his fill, and loved on his brother, but that didn't happen. He was eaten up, instead. The jealousy did him no good at all. The pride didn't fill his stomach.
I'm not saying the prodigal was an angel--no, far from it, but that's another story.
How many times does pride get in your way? Your self is patting you on the back and telling you what a great job you do and you deserve a lot more credit than you're given. Self also says you should have been given what the other guy got. So you set self on a pedestal and worship it. Do you not see where this could lead? If you put self on the throne, where's God going to sit?
Before you start thinking I'm pointing a finger at you, let me assure you I've been in that boat too. Set it rocking. Sank it!
Lord, forgive us, please, for the mess we make of our lives by putting our selves on the throne where You only deserve to sit. Remind us none of us are perfect. Help us truly forgive and love while we hang that jealous, prideful self out the high window with a long rope! In Jesus's Name and for His sake alone, Amen.