How do you react when you see someone else receiving accolades? How does it sit with you when someone you believe has done wrong is forgiven and welcomed with open arms? Do you respond with spite and disgust?
To see someone be given many gifts and waste them is difficult for us to swallow. It is especially hard when they return, and they are welcomed heartily. We may want to gouge their eyes out or send them on their way with a swift kick.
Let’s make this a little more personal. Let’s assume your sibling asked for and was given their inheritance at a young age. They went off to a large city, squandered their money, and found themselves homeless. They survive by digging through the dumpsters to scrounge food. Not a pretty sight. Finally, they have had enough. They decide to head home and ask their parents to allow them to stay with them for a while, until they get their feet back on the ground. They plan to beg forgiveness. When they show up, they start to beg but are stopped in mid-sentence by your parents, who throw their arms around your errant sibling and welcome them into the family home. Not only that, but they through a party to welcome them home. How does that suit your fancy?
That is exactly what happens in the parable of the prodigal son. Putting ourselves in the shoes of the son who stayed with his father and worked the entire time the other son was squandering his inheritance; we must ask ourselves how we would feel about it. Would we react the way the older son reacted? Would we ask how in the world our parents could throw a party for such a loser?
We are put in that very situation when someone comes to Jesus late in life if we have been serving Him for many years. Are we joyous the rebel rouser in their youth, flaunting rich person in their middle years, and world jaunting in their retirement years person finally comes to Jesus at age 90, just before they are about to die? Or are we wondering how God could welcome that person into His loving arms?
I believe God wants us to rejoice with Him. After all, it is God’s grace and mercy that saved both the prodigal and each one of us. It costs us nothing for God to save the other person. It is only jealousy that causes us to question God’s grace and mercy. We want more than the person who lived a raucous life and was saved on their death bed.
I pray we all rejoice with God when any person is saved. I pray we long to see the lost souls of this world saved. I pray each one of us realize it is no cost to us when God saves someone else. Rejoice with God. Celebrate another soul being saved. Long for the lost to be saved. You have lost nothing. You have gained a brother or sister.
Luke 15:31-32 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 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.’”