(Note: Picture found HERE on-line.)
Thinking of the story of the two brothers and their incredible Dad, classically called “The Prodigal Son,” I want to draw a correlation for the American culture. In the USA, we continually prioritize older brother or younger brother tendencies. We highlight and praise aspects of either the older brother or the younger brother in this story. Is it possible that we are year after year missing the mark? I won’t propose that I have the answer on my own, but this story, brought back to my attention by Tim Keller’s book The Prodigal God, reminds us where our priorities should be and Who is ultimately at the center of each of our stories.
In this story, Americans can be woken up to remember that our “success” is not ultimately defined by our ability to live abandoned and reckless lives (younger brother) nor our ability to live self-disciplined dutiful lives (older brother). It’s a holy reliance on Jesus Christ, knowing Him in His suffering and becoming like Him (Philippians 3). As we make Him our priority, and as we orient our thinking and believing and acting around His life, death, and resurrection, our thinking, believing, and acting changes by degrees day-by-day.
Let’s consider together joining Christ in His banqueting hall, joining our perfect Older Brother, the Ancient of Days, Jesus Christ Himself. He, unlike the prodigal son’s older brother, saw us in either our self-righteous pride or our reckless sinful lifestyles, and He came down and died to give us HIS RIGHTEOUS STANDING IN HEAVEN WITH HIM FOR ETERNITY!
We now know HIM AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. May we become like Him in His suffering and be less attached to either our spend-thrift tendencies of waste and self-aggrandizement or our prideful American Dreams of accomplishment and status. We all have tendencies toward either pride or waste, and the sooner we abandon these and find our deepest pleasure in Jesus Christ, the sooner our joy will begin to deepen and grow in this relationship. Let’s abandon these elusive American Idols and orient our lives around the Person and the Work (Calvary) of Jesus Christ!
Your brother for eternity,