Lent Devotion for Saturday, March 12
“You never gave me…””
Reader: “Now we hear from the older brother.”
Response: “Too often I have been the older brother!”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 15:25-31
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.’"
Reader: “This is the word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Here we see the heart of the other self-centered brother. While the younger son grabbed what was his and took off, thinking only of himself, the older brother blamed the father for not being generous toward him, thinking only of himself. This was a giant pity party. Serving his father he called “slavery.” Was he glad to see his brother? No. Was he concerned about the time his brother had been away? No. Did he feel his father owed him something? Yes. His heart is embarrassingly laid bare before us. Then the father does something with the older son he did not do with the younger. He pleaded with him. Why? When the younger son demanded his inheritance and took off, the father did not plead with him not to go. He gave him that freedom. But here, he pleads with the elder son to rejoice with them in the joy of repentance. The elder son could not let go of his brother’s past. Actually, he was consumed with himself. Though he was the elder brother, he was clearly the more immature of the two, for he had not yet “come to his senses.” He remained the childish, reluctant, joyless, joint-heir of the wealthy father, a sad place for an heir to be. As joint-heirs of the King, may we never find ourselves in the place of the elder brother, or the younger one either, for that matter! Celebrate a gracious Father.
PRAYER: Gracious Lord of joy and delight, grant that I may always rejoice with those who rejoice, cheer for those who are cheerful, laugh with those who laugh, be happy with those who are happy, be enthusiastic with those who are enthusiastic, discover anew with those who discover new things. Forbid that I should ever withhold my heart’s embracing of another’s joy for some silly, selfish, or sanctimonious reason. Your kingdom does not need more “joy monitors.” From sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us! Amen! -Daniel Sharp, 2009