Luke 15:28–30 “28 The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’”
In Don’t Choke on the Blessing part 3, we looked at the younger son and how he choked on the blessing given to him. He eventually came to his senses, humbled himself, and repented to God and his father. However, another character in the same parable upon seeing the younger son repent also choked on the blessing. That’s right, the older son too choked on the blessing, although he didn’t take his inheritance and squander it, his heart toward his father was not right. How did he choke on his blessing?
1. Comparisons produce winners and losers: ”‘…I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders… But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him?” I love sports and the competition involved. However in families when there is competition and comparison, a dividing line is established. The older compared his loyalty to his brothers’ disloyalty toward the father. He was accurate in what he said, but he was not right in the attitude of which he said it. When we say look at how great I am, and what a loser this other person is, we’ve established the winner and the loser in life which is NOT a game. Imagine if Mary would have said to her other children, “Why can’t you be perfect like your brother Jesus?” With Satan trying so hard to destroy the family, why should we play according to his tune? Satan almost destroyed the younger son in the parable, but the older brother didn’t care about him, only himself. If he wanted accolades then he should have allowed his father to say them. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”
2. Attitude is everything!: “I’ve been slaving for you … never gave me … this son of yours.” I’ve heard it said that life is ten percent of what happens to you and ninety percent of how you respond to it. The older brother should have had his younger brother’s back. The younger brother could have been sick in a hospital, or even dead, but he was alive and had returned. The older brother didn’t contemplate any of those things, only that “this son of his father’s,” as he put it, lost it all while his father celebrated his homecoming. The older brother would one day receive two-thirds of his father’s estate as his own inheritance, but he wanted some recognition now! He was a hard worker, with a loving father, all his needs were provided for, and his brother was not dead, but alive and back to talk about his “frivolous adventure.” Paul wrote about how our attitudes should be when he penned the words in Philippians 2:5-7, “5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The older brother hardly had such an attitude. Our attitudes determines a lot. Jesus was God, yet became a servant. We are not God, yet we don’t have the attitude Christ displayed.
Have you been playing the comparison games? Does your attitude need maintenance today, if so humble bring it in to God’s presence and have it worked on. Don’t choke on the blessing God has given you.
Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil