Monday, July 13, 2009

All He Has is Yours.

I love Bible stories. Not only for the story they tell but for the message that is hidden behind the scenes. The Bible is chocked full of narratives of dysfunctional families. Tucked inside each account you’ll discover there’s more to the story than meets the eye. God’s heart is written on the pages of the lives of men, women and children.

Take the Prodigal Son story for example. How many sons do you see in the story? For years I only saw two, the Prodigal Son, and the older brother. But now I see 3.


The Prodigal Son doesn't want to wait for his father to die in order to receive his inheritance. He wants it now. He thinks he will find life outside the father’s house. So he goes to his father, asks for his inheritance and leaves. Independent living is his path. He only needs the father for what He can give to him. He doesn’t really know the heart of his father.

He goes out, squanders all that he has and ends up working in the fields with pigs. It’s then he realizes that the life he's living isn't cutting it. He realizes that what he left behind was really all he needed. He heads back home hoping that his father will at least let him come back and work for him as a hired hand.

The Father’s been watching for him, hoping he would return. While the son is still a long way off, he sees him. He grabs up his royal robes in order to be able to run out and meet him. Filled with compassion, he throws his arms around his son and kisses him. He commands his servants to bring the best robe. He places it on his son’s shoulders, along with a ring on his finger and sandals for his feet. The son is restored to his place in the father’s house, where he belongs. The father calls for the fattened calf to be killed for a feast of celebration. He doesn’t care what his son has done or where he’s been, he only cares that the he has returned and is now in his embrace.

The second son, the older brother, enters into the story. He’s been with the father all along working hard in the fields. Performance and striving are his path. He wants to please his father. He wants a place in the father’s heart. He doesn’t see the value in himself. He hopes his work will be enough.

When he sees the treatment his brother receives, He’s enraged. After all his brother considered his father as good as dead and now he has the gall to return. Why is the father celebrating his brother's return with a party? How come the father has never celebrated him like that?

Comparison kicks in, bringing with it, resentment. All the older son can think about is how hard he has worked for the father, yet no feast has ever been given in his honor. He confronts his father and his father’s response is "Son, all I have has always been yours." The older brother has been so caught up in finding value through his hard work that he never entered in to live as a son who was loved and celebrated. Love has always been there waiting for him. He could not see.

The 3rd son in the story is the Son who is telling the story, Jesus. He knew the heart of the Father. He knew His place there. He didn’t have to do anything to earn the Father’s love. He knew He was loved, therefore He lived love. His life is the invitation to us all. As the Father loved His Son, so we are loved.

Three sons paint the portrait of God here. The prodigal son didn’t see the value of the Father. The older brother didn’t see the value of himself. Jesus saw both. You can’t really live this life with God without both, but many do. Many do not see their place with the father. Many spend their time hoping that their good works will be enough. Comparison reveals that in a heart. For if you know your place there is no need to compare.

There is a special place in the heart of God that you hold. It is yours and yours alone. It has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do. You belong because you are His offspring. All he has has always been yours. That blows me away. All that God has has been there waiting for you, and for me. The invitation has been extended. Will you enter into the Father's house into His embrace? Will you leave it all behind and just be loved? The feast awaits.

©copyrighted: 2009 Julie L. Todd


Also posted at the Internet Cafe:



21 comments:

Sita said... Reply to comment

Julie,
After writing that post about my son, and then reading your post and comment, I realize God is telling me something about His love for me. It is still quite hard to believe that there is anything to 'celebrate' about my life, yet it is just me that he celebrates, not anything I may or may not have done--as you said, just because I am His...

Thank you and hope you are doing well. Must go to sleep now, it is past midnight!

Mary said... Reply to comment

Good morning!

I just read your post at the Internet Cafe. I really enjoyed it. Great insight on the Elder Son.

We seem to have some things in common - I too, grew up very religious (would have made a great Pharisee too!) and Papa has been breaking me these last few years. I'd love for it to be instantaneous but He sees differently. ;o)

Have a blessed week!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie, I am happy to be reading another post of yours. Always something to look forward to. What a beautiful comparison between Jesus, the Son of God and the Elder Brother in the parable. Jesus is our elder brother, who truly knows his value and worth. How often we would choose to get our worth from our performance.

I love this story, it is true to life. Thanks for sharing your deep insights.

Amy said... Reply to comment

Yes...I will leave it all behind and just be loved. I've found delight in the Father's feast and there is nothing better to be found!

Thank you for this beautiful reminder of ALL that God has for us as His children.

Love you,
Amy

Lana Vaughan, Reality Developer said... Reply to comment

I love how God shows you new insights in familiar passages. No matter which son people relate to in the story because of the Son telling the story the father's heart is revealed. WOW!

Laura said... Reply to comment

I love this Julie, makes me see the story with new eyes too...thinking of the Son telling the story. It makes it even more intimate, doesn't it? What an amazing experience it must have been to sit at His feet as He told His stories.

Love you, lady.

Karen said... Reply to comment

This was beautiful! I have heard this story all my life but never thought about the 3rd Son...

I loved what you wrote... It has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do. You belong because you are His offspring. Amen! Reason enough to "rejoice in the Lord always"....

Paula said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie, thank you for a fresh look at a valued parable. This returned prodigal appreciates the message. :)

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Amen Julie! What a great post! God created us to love us! There was no other reason! If we could just come to the realization of how much He loves us and learn to live in His love, there would never be another thing on this earth that could stop us from going forth and revealing the glory of our wonderful, gracious, loving Father. No one would have to tell us to act righteously. Our lives would be a response to living loved by our Father which would result in empowerment to love others the way that we have been loved, the fulfillment of every commandment.
Thanks for the great revelation here today!
Christy

The Things We Carried said... Reply to comment

Hmmm, that is a beautiful picture, adding the third son perspective. This is a story I love, especially since reading Henry Nouwen's little treasure on this parable. If you haven't seen it, you may love it as I do.

LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie,

WOW! What a powerful sharing...fresh sharing.

I'm so glad that I was able to stop by and visit with you.

Lots of love sis.

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

You are using your God given gifts and we are being refreshed and blessed by your insight.

Thank you, Jesus!

:)

Angela said... Reply to comment

This was amazing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

And thanks for stopping by to say hi. It's nice to meet you. (I've met such lovely people on Billy's blog.)

2nd Cup of Coffee said... Reply to comment

Very beautiful post; I had never thought of Jesus in the context of the story.

Mary at My New 30 said... Reply to comment

Wow Julie, that was awesome. I too love to examine the stories within scripture, though I don't do it nearly enough. When you begin to dig in them, it is amazing the things that come to light. And sometimes the truths within one's self. I love how you saw the three sons - sort of brings it back around to the Trinity too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet comments! I am adding your blog to my reader for sure.

Miss G said... Reply to comment

Oh Jewel, thank you for pouring out your heart for us again and again. Yes!!! All He has is ours as His chosen, celebrated children! Thank you! Kelly

p.s. I hope the wedding plans are continuing to go well!

Miss G said... Reply to comment

p.s.s. I like the new look of your blog. Very pretty. Kelly

Cindy said... Reply to comment

Do you know what a gift God has given you in your writing.

You always bless.

Praying God opens doors for you.

Blessings, Cindy

David C Brown said... Reply to comment

I learned something recently: how you the younger son get back? Well, how did you get back? It's just one parable in Luke 15:

he got back on the Shepherd's shoulders!

Amy Jo said... Reply to comment

Wow. God has quite a lot to teach me through the prodigal son story. I just wrote two posts about it...and now you've given me yet another viewpoint. THANK YOU! Blessings, Amy

David C Brown said... Reply to comment

PRODIGAL

I am kissed, I am dressed,
I am ringed, I am shod;
I am chosen and blessed -
I am brought near to God!