“And the Father said to Him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”
One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is the value of relationship. It is easy to see how they can be torn in this area, even as toddlers. Is it more important to get the toy, or to share and keep having fun together? Although this is a simple illustration, each one of us will have to decide how we value the people around us again and again throughout our lives.
Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of a father and his two sons. The younger son took his inheritance, went to a distant land, and wasted it all on wild living. A famine swept over the land and he began to starve. Remembering that even his father’s forgiveness and take a servant’s position in his house. Upon his return, however, his father saw him at a distance and ran to embrace him. As the son confessed his sin against his father and heaven, instead of taking a place as a servant, he was given the finest robe, a ring, sandals, and a feast.
Meanwhile, the older brother came in from working the fields and discovered the celebration of his brother’s return. His reaction to his father’s invitation to join them has always grabbed my attention:
“But he replied, All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one yound goat for a feast with my friends.”
In all the years of faithful labor, the older son had become hard. He had lost sight of the riches surrounding him and saw only the work. He had also become to the importance of relationship with his father and his brother. Jealousy and contention rose up in his heart.
James 3:16 states, “For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.” These are not small issues. We are living in a time in history when God has promised to reunite the hearts of fathers and sons–spiritual fathers and sons as well as biological fathers and sons. How are we as the body of Christ going to react to this? If we focus on the labor of our Christianity, we will likely feel the same jealousy as the older brother. After all, who hasn’t gotten upset when the work was not evenly divided? But if we are focused, instead, on our Father’s love for us, seeing the abundant provision that is always available to us, we will rejoice when we can share it with the weary and hungry.
There is work to be done in the kingdom of God, yes, but that should never be our bottom line.
“But the end and culmination of all things has now come near…Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]”
1 Peter 4:7-8
Enjoying Amy’s encouragement? Continue reading uplifting articles Against All Odds
Learn more about gifted faith writer Amy Layne Litzelman