July 9, Today’s thought -Close, But Far Away

June 4 048A view of Cozy Acres not often posted, the Farmer’s work area.

Good Morning

Luke 15:13-20
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Rylie continues thinking about the elder brother.

“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen.” (Luke 15:28, The Message)

We know not exactly how long the Prodigal had been gone from his father’s house, but it was not a brief period. At least a few years had passed. And during all this time the father never stopped watching and waiting, yearning for the return of his beloved son.

George Morrison writes, “And always beside him was his elder son, with his heart utterly hardened to the prodigal—father and son a million miles apart. He was at home, under the same roof, and in his father’s presence every day; while his brother, the prodigal, was in an alien land. Yet the elder brother was farther away from the father than his ne’er-do-well brother.” (Devotional Sermons).

And in the same manner that the father ran out to meet his returning son, so he goes out to the elder son and tries to talk him into the party. But the elder brother would have none of it. Rather his bitterness spewed out the brooding anger that long had been in his heart.

It is a frightful thing when we allow a religious spirit to rise above our relationship with God and one another. The elder brother was diligent and obedient — but hard. He was a pattern of industry and duty, putting in long hours in the fields and making sure the father’s estate was prosperous. But there was something dreadfully wrong under the surface.
Not only did he have no affection whatsoever for his younger brother, which is seen in his spiteful words to his father — “when this son of yours comes home” — but, more to the point, his heart was bitter toward his father. “For years I have worked for you like a slave and have always obeyed you. But you have never even given me a little goat, so that I could give a dinner for my friends!”

“When anyone breaks out like that, it is not so extemporaneous as it seems. It is the boiling over, in some heated moment, of what has long been simmering in the heart.” (Morrison)

He was so close to the Father, and yet so far away.

Am I close or far away . . .Today?
With my prayers, desiring yours, Leslie

Published in: on July 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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July 8, Today’s thought – The Elder Son

June 4 036Grizz likes bath water.

Good Afternoon

Luke 15:25-32
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Rylie has some thoughts about the elder son.

“But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends!” (Luke 15:29, GNB)

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the elder brother had serious personal issues! Not only against his younger brother who had been out running wild and blowing a fortune, but also against his father — who welcomed the ragged boy back home with open arms.

What was his problem? Simply this — he saw himself more as a slave, instead of a son. That’s what religion will do to a soul. It will fill you with an ever-deepening sense of inadequacy, which in turn drives you to reach higher and higher in an effort to perform so as to finally become accepted. And, it inflames you with a raging jealousy against anybody who seems to get in without having to pay the price you have had to pay.

I’ve often wondered how the story would have turned out if the elder brother had met the prodigal returning home before the father had seen him. “You’ve got a lot of nerve showing your sorry face around here,” I can hear him say. “You know you broke dad’s heart, don’t you? And thanks to you, my load of work has doubled! Why don’t you just turn around and go back where you’ve been!”

And I also wonder if the reason the younger brother ran off was to get away, not from his father (who was clearly loving and good), but rather to get away from his controlling older brother.

Remember the scene in Walk the Line, the movie about Johnny Cash and June Carter, when June is in the store and a lady walks up and says, “Your momma and daddy are good Christian folks.” And June says, “Why thank you; I’ll tell ’em you said so.” But the lady then says, “I’m surprised they even speak to you — divorce is an abomination to God!” It crushes Junes spirit, and as she turns to walk away, the self-righteous lady briskly dusts off the shelves in the store with a look of smug satisfaction on her face; after all, she has done her religious duty.

Jesus asked a most pointed question — “Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?” (Luke 6:42, the Message). Yep, the Bible got it right when it said, “It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.” (Matthew 7:3, the Message).
O Lord, have mercy on us all . . .

Luke 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. KJV

Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Shall we check the mirror . . .Today?
With my prayers, desiring yours, Leslie