Monday, June 30, 2014

Understanding the Prodigal

From Luke 15:11-32
I've always struggled with the story of the prodigal son. You know the story about the little brat who takes his inheritance, parties it away, then comes back when he has hit rock bottom, and Daddy is thrilled to see him anyway? Maybe because I'm the older child and a goody-two-shoe by nature, I totally relate to the other son. What's up with that, Pops? I've been here the whole time and he gets the welcome home party?? Jerk.
I accept that God takes us back no matter what we've done, even though it doesn't really sound "fair." But on a human, earthly level, it just doesn't compute.
It kind of hit me the other day though how to see it from another perspective. Let me attempt to share my thoughts.
Most of us have the goal as adults of being independent and successful. We may have different ideas of what exactly that means, but that's what it boils down to. We make our choices based on what we have, financially and otherwise. The wise follow a budget, build their savings, and live within their means. The average American (according to Dave Ramsey) uses credit cards some, has some debt, and gets by ok. I would venture to say we all hope our situations get better as we go along, or at least stay the same.
But no such luck. Stuff happens. Bad stuff. And even if you're somewhat prepared, it takes some major adjusting. And sometimes some help.
Which would you choose? Staying independent, comfortable, and able to help others, or would you choose to go through a bad experience that creates the opportunity for others to show you kindness you might not otherwise see? I know I'd choose the first. Being sucker punched sucks, no matter how much good comes from it.
I am immensely grateful for the blessings from others we see in hard times. I'm hoping to learn to be even more of a blessing to others when they are in the same situation, whether it was from bad choices or circumstances beyond their control. Thank you, God, for letting me see what it's like to be both the prodigal and the older son.