This past weekend, our children's pastor, Aaron Bauer, gave an excellent message. The whole thing was good, and you can listen to it here, but there was one thing that has stuck out and really penetrated my heart.
Our current series is "Once Upon A Time". The series is going through many of the popular parables of the Bible and practically explaining them and relating them to our own lives.
This past week Aaron spoke about 3 parables, but the one that hit home was the story of the Prodigal Son. We've all heard the story a million times. In fact, I used to hate the story because we had to listen to James Dobson's (I think) video series in youth group as a teenager all.the.time.
This time Aaron addressed both of the brother's in the story. We all know about the son that took his inheritance and squandered it until it was totally gone and he was left eating with the pigs...literally.
But what about the other brother? He is a very important part of the story as well. I've been the brother that ran away, making the foolish choices, and then came running back to my Father. But, sometimes, embarrassingly enough, I've found myself being the other brother.
See, this other brother lived life by the rules. He always obeyed, he was a hard worker and he did what he was supposed to do. But when his wayward brother came home repenting, and received a party, this other brother was upset. No...he was downright angry!
I would have been too, to be quite honest. But there it is in it's ugliest form...the issue of the heart!
That is the sad thing. I find myself as that other brother sometimes. I live life by the rules now. I do things that I'm supposed to do. If I'm supposed to do something I'll do it without making a fuss. I won't ask a ton of questions, I just do it. So, when someone else, who does things differently, comes along, I have a hard time when they get the party. Or when they get "additional blessings". Or if they get all the attention.
I'm just being honest. It's really hard for me. It's my selfish side. It's my prideful side.
Here's the eye opening thing for me as a parent - as I constantly have to explain to my kids that "it isn't all about you, you know" I am talking more and more to myself.
The Lord has really been working on perspective with me. He's been helping me see that blessings for other people are for them and opening my eyes to the blessings that He has given me. He is constantly opening my eyes to the Eternal things. Some things just don't matter in this life. In fact, not much that is gratifying from this life here on earth is Eternal at all. But that often seems to be what we fight for isn't it.
I'm glad I don't serve a God who will give up on me. I pray that he will help me be a supportive "brother", an encouraging "brother", truly loving and obeying and following the rules with a pure heart, not out of selfish ambition.