Which Role Do You Play In This Story?
One of the most popular stories in the New Testament is Jesus' parable of the prodigal son. When you read the story (found in Luke 15:11ff), which character do you identify with most?
Of course, each of us must come to God as the younger son. We were in a "foreign country" in the muddle of our own sin when we came to our senses and turned to God for His love and forgiveness. Only by coming as the repentant prodigal can we experience the freeing grace of God.
And I think God wants each of us to play the role of the father, extending that grace to those around us. When we see others around us who are hurting, confused or angry, we are called to act as God's ambassador to offer our hands of comfort and acceptance. This is the mature role that every Christian yearns to become.
However, I'm afraid that many of us are stuck in the role of the older son. We are standing on the sidelines with a grimace on our face, our teeth clinched and our arms securely crossed.
We have become disillusioned by others, frustrated that God doesn't seem interested in answering our prayers, doubtful that we can overcome our shortcomings, and wonder why no one notices all the hard work we have been putting into this whole effort called life.
It is so easy to notice that others don't seem to get what they deserve. The older son refers to his younger brother as "this son of yours..." The father longs to remind him that "this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live." Only as we humble ourselves before God can we become all He wants us to be.
[Credit is due Henri Nouwen and his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son for the idea for this MMM.]
Scripture: Luke 15:31,32 - "And he said to him (older son), 'My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found."
Action Point: Read through the parable of the prodigal and ask God to reveal your heart. Let's get off the sidelines and begin to join God in what He is doing around us.
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