Devotional Diary: The Prodigal Son

Dear readers,

I have decided to start a series on Sundays.  As we trudge through this amazing and challenging life together, I thought I would share my thoughts, my devotions, and my prayers with you…  If you would like to contribute to this series, I would absolutely love your devotion to share!  Sundays are a time many of us  focus our attention on the Lord, our Heavenly Father.  It’s rather quiet in the blogosphere on Sundays, and I simply love that sacred honor that resonates for so many.  These posts will always be focused on Him.  May you join me in reflection, prayers, and promises…

As we take a quiet moment to breath and be still, and know that He is Lord.  Lets share, support and challenge each other together in blog fellowship, shall we?

I Am Not The Prodigal Son… I Am The Other One.

We host a small group on Saturday nights, where we are studying Jesus’ parables.  Recently discussion centered on the infamous Prodigal Son Parable.  For those who do not know the story, it is about a son running away with his father’s fortune and recklessly squandering it all.  This selfish indignant son comes crawling back begging and starving as his father runs to him with open arms and treats his welcome home celebration as though his son were a king.  The story is truly a powerful one and the message is loud and clear that God’s arms stretch out to the lost, as He celebrates every soul who returns to Him.  Our discussion was filled with amazing insights and valuable lessons learned from this story, as we talked about several distinct details that prove God’s love and mercy pours deep and wide on every child of God. 

 This post isn’t about that message.  It’s about the other one…

The other son who stayed home and worked like a slave for his father and was obedient and did every thing right.  This other son who watched his father cherish his pathetically careless and dishonorable brother’s return and even treat him like royalty.  This ‘other son’ who never received any accolades or magnificent feast for all his efforts and his commitment to what was right. 

Luke 15:11-32

New International Version (NIV)

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 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. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 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.’”

After all the talk about the Lost Son, my friend Carlos pierced my heart with this truth:

“We also have to be careful that we are not the other son.  Angry at what others’ have received while we work so hard to serve and give, and perhaps not get much in return.”

Oh. My. Gosh. That. Is. Me.

I have been slowly seeping toxic waste in my heart of this very truth.  I give and give and give… but what am I getting in return?  I have been twisting bitter blood deep in my soul for every good deed dismissed and every exhausted day serving without a thank you.  I have watched others shine in their success as I slave away with growing resentment that I am not acknowledged.  I am not appreciated. 

Where’s my fattened calf???

Where’s my party?

I want the celebration!!!

Why aren’t all the people recognizing ME??

I work harder than those who are treated like royalty!

What about………… ME!!!!!????

And as I purged these poisonous pleas out to God in the following days, willed with anger and exhaustion, I hear His profound and passionate praise stir my heart…

My child, it is I who rejoices.

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Comments

  1. Ilene says

    I love this discussion because you remind us to check our agendas before giving of ourselves. Because unless we learn to give selflessly without motive of receiving in return, we will experience suffering. Most people don’t realize that they are the cause of their own suffering and that all they have to do to stop their suffering is to detach from expectations. Your commentary drives this point home perfectly. This is a great series that you are starting.

    • says

      Oh how I always love your amazing comments Ilene!! You nailed it. As always. It is so easy to have selfish motives hidden beneath the surface of our serving hearts. Sometimes, I don’t even realize how my pride seeps in with expectations.. and when it does, I always suffer. Thank you so so much for your input! XOXO…

  2. says

    I love that you share your personal relationship with the Lord. The Bible contains every answer for every question, if we but take the time to look and replenish our souls.

    • says

      Such a beautiful statement of faith you said: The Bible contains every answer for every question, if we but take the time to look and replenish our souls.

      The key phrase is if we but TAKE THE TIME to look… and may I add, open our hearts as well? If our hearts aren’t opened to His loving guidance, we certainly won’t be able to truly grow.

  3. says

    What a wonderful idea for a series, Chris. I love your message. I think I’m only beginning to learn that you should just give and not expect anything in return or be envious of others who get recognition. That the returns come in different ways that I can’t control and sometimes might not even see…unless I’m truly paying attention.

    • says

      Oooh…I love that. It is truly exhausting to constantly wait for and seek the recognition and reward for our deeds/works/gifts. So much energy is wasted in the disappointment or anger or simply thoughts centered on ME and what I think I deserve. You are so right about the returns coming in different ways that you can’t control! And such a great point you shared about paying attention. Sometimes we are so lost in our selfish ways, we don’t even SEE the precious rewards!! LOVE that insight! It hits home with me so much… I am so glad you shared that!

      Thank you so much for your amazing support Jennifer. It truly means the world to me.

  4. says

    I’ve always not liked that story simply because for my whole like I was the older son in that parable..just like you said. Until one day, I messed up…big time. Then I realized that we’re ALL the prodigal, no matter how noble or selfless we are. great post!

    • says

      ME TOO!!! ME TOO!!! I seriously had the nickname “Prodigal daughter” from a Christian Principal I worked with years ago, and that was long AFTER all my crazy ‘lost’ days!!! LOL Gosh, I bet we could fill a few hundred hours with our stories of past recklessness…

      Coolest statement EVER: Then I realized that we’re ALL the prodigal, no matter how noble or selfless we are.
      Love that Julie. Simply LOVE that.

  5. says

    This is a really beautiful post, and so true. I remember always thinking how selfish the “other brother” sounded, but never really thought past that. This is a valuable lesson to ponder. We should beware of what we brew in our hearts. Thank you!

    • says

      Me TOO Jen!!! I always thought the other brother was so selfish and awful, so I always focused my attention more on the wayward son. It was one of those ‘bat in the gut’ moments for me when Carolos said that. I love how you put it- “We should beware of what we brew in our hearts.” SO true. Thanks so much for sharing Jen.

  6. says

    Love this series and will definitely be along for the ride. 🙂 I needed this reminder. If people would just remember this, life would be a whole lot more pleasant. Those feelings are so human…so automatic but they are toxic. They keep us stationary in our complaining with the “poor me”. He doesn’t want us to be stationary. He wants us to do things because we want to…not for recognition or pride. Great post!

    • says

      OHMYGOSH how I love this comment Annmarie!! Such an amazing point!!! In our self pity and wallowing pride, we WILL be stuck!! How can we move forward serving with a toxic heart? It does immobilize us, doesn’t it!? Such a deceitful move of the evil one. Satan loves to grab our vulnerabilities and pull us as far away from God as possible. This very self-centered heart issue is surely one that keeps us from sharing our light and His light. Awesome insight. Thank you so much for sharing that hun!!

    • says

      It’s quite easy to be the other son, isn’t it??? It’s so interesting, because i never focused on him until the small group discussion. I knew there was the message with this son, but never personally connected this until now. Ouch. Lets encourage each other in this, shall we? It’s not about us…it’s about Him. Ah yes… I stand convicted!

  7. says

    Thank you… for this…for the series. I can so relate with the older brother and have been and do still struggle with it. Have a wonderful day.

    • says

      Oh Andrea, it’s such a relief to know I am not alone in this! It’s really a heart issue- and I need to own it and realize exactly what God has laid on my heart. It’s really not about me at all… it’s about Him.

      BTW- I am so encouraged by your support. It truly means the WORLD to me.

  8. says

    I feel like this is such a good reminder for all of us. Lisa and I talk (vent) all the time about how much we do that goes seemingly unnoticed. But at the end of the day, we should be giving because we want to not because it will get us some sort of recognition. Well said Chris! Great Monday morning food for thought! :)-Ashley

    • says

      Yes exactly Ashley!! But it is SOOOOO hard to not look for the returns from all we give… (sigh). You and Lisa have an amazing quality about yourselves that is constantly warm and giving… You both are always such a light in my heart! I like to think that in perfect time, it all will come around exactly how it should. God’s plan for me, for you girls is perfect… we just need to believe that and trust it.

  9. says

    I know it doesn’t often feel like it, but we must remember that the rewards we get every day for being that other son are constant. He got to be with his father, and what his father had there was his. We have this too, not only in the physical things we have, but in this faith we have in God and the families he’s blessed us with.

    Awesome series.

    • says

      Oh I just love that Eli… reading that just gave me chills. The honor is being His. The reward is having all that He has given to us… it IS constant. Oh my…that is powerful.

  10. says

    Awesome and thought provoking post Chris! Love this new devotion that you’re doing! We ALL have gone there and are still going, lol! It is something that we as Believers have to constantly be aware of…the condition of our hearts, better yet “matters of the heart” and motives behind why we do what we do. Everything we do should be done to the glory of God, The Bible tells us in Colossians 3:23, that “whatever we do, do it as unto the Lord”, not looking for glory or praise from men. This is so hard for us as Christians to do, because we still have our earth suits. That’s why we must constantly die to our flesh. My husband always tells us dead men(dead to the flesh), don’t have feelings. Haha…you can only imagine how this unnerves me Chris, but I know he’s right, lol! Okay, I’ll stop now, lol! Thank you as always darlin’! Can’t wait until next week! xoxoxo

  11. says

    The condition of our hearts… AH yes Michell!!! Colossians 3:23 is the PERFECT verse for this message!! As always, your wise words resonate with me. Love your input and your sweet voice always on my blog!!! 🙂

  12. says

    {Melinda} I needed to hear this, Chris! I have been struggling with this very thing for a while now … as if I’m entitled to anything! Thank you for letting me know I’m not in that struggle alone and for reminding me of Whose approval I should be seeking.

    • says

      Oh Melinda- I am glad we can encourage each other together in this life! It’s so hard to fight that prideful growing resentment. And even though I know the Truth, I still struggle with it all the time. That moment when I was stewing in “it”…the night after small group ended, well into the next day. I was really down. Then as I was praying about it more(in a self pity party way) I got that unspoken message that just pierced my heart with such tenderness and warmth. It was an amazing lift and I still try to hold on to that perspective. I’m trying to keep praying through each emotional turn, then I find myself more attached to God’s watchful rejoicing eye and I can bask in the spirit with satisfaction.

  13. says

    Love that you’re doing this devotional series. It will be great receiving spiritual reflections on Sundays. Your honesty and candor is one of the reasons I love reading your post and I can so identify. We tend to focus so much on the prodigal son and not so much the other son. Sometimes we forget whose we are and what we have access to: “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Thank you, thank you thank you for this awesome and powerful reminder.

    • says

      Oooooh! Another amazing insight! I just love that Hope. We can focus so hard on all the human recognition and gifts, that we completely neglect that we have full access to His recognition and gifts. Wow. That penetrated my heart. Thank YOU Hope! (Your encouragement means the world to me…thank you for your human reward/gift! :))

  14. says

    Yes! Sometimes I get in the rut of “everyone else has wonderful things happening for them”, “Why not me??” It’s a negative way to think and poisonous for the soul.

    • says

      I can get consumed by this selfish pride and that binds me from being all the God wants me to be! That’s why it’s so important that we abide in Him and constantly pray for our hearts to be in the right place. It is so hard to step outside of ourselves! I appreciate you coming by Adrienne! xoxo…

  15. Candice says

    My child, it is I who rejoices

    The lesson in its entirety to me here is to discern from where and from whom do we seek our reward for our efforts. Seeking it from anywhere or anyone other than our Lord is like the analogous rocking chair of worry, it leads us to no where and will never bring us the fulfillment or peace we are seeking.

    What a great insight Chris! It is so frustrating how we so easily fall into the worldly traps that leave us paralyzed in our journey meant for Him!

    • says

      Yes sis, you share such truth! It really does “trap” us and “paralyze” us when we are solely focused on the world’s eyes and ears… Satan loves that doesn’t he? I can’t tell you how many times I have been bound in this captivity.

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