All Lost Once

One of the themes of the three parables of Luke 15 is that something found is worth celebrating.  The shepherd celebrates finding the lost sheep.  The woman celebrates finding the lost coin.  The father celebrates finding the lost son.  But not everyone is in the mood to celebrate the return of the prodigal.  The older son had been working out in the field when he comes home to the sound of a party.  “What’s up?” he wonders to himself.  A servant tells him that his little brother had finally come home and they’re having a party in his honor.  The older brother is furious at this and refuses to go in to celebrate.  So the father goes out to him and pleads with him to come in and celebrate with the family.  The older brother becomes indignant and begins to yell at his father!  “Look!” he says and proceeds to explain the injustice of the situation to his father.  He had been faithful all of these years.  He had served his father faithfully and had never asked for anything from his father.  And now Junior comes home after blowing everything on a life of wine, women and song and you’re throwing a party for him?!?  All he’s done is party!  What have I done?!?  Worked my fingers to the bone for you and I get NOTHING!
It makes you wonder which son was really lost.  Oh, the younger son was lost in a physical sense of the word.  Meanwhile the older son never physically left home but his heart was in a far off land called bitterness and resentment.
We may look at others in this world who don’t know Jesus and appear to be having the time of their lives in perpetual partying and promiscuity and feel a twinge of jealousy.  “Why do they get to have all of the fun?!?”  We who have followed Jesus our entire lives may resonate with the older brother.  This is short-sighted!  The older brother didn’t know the pain of the younger brother once he hit rock bottom.  He only heard of the parties.  He never heard of the pigs.  He hadn’t heard of the misery of his mistakes.  He didn’t know of the empty feeling the younger son had when he was willing to come home and hire himself as a servant to his father.  He didn’t know of the shame and embarrassment.
You don’t know what others have been through or are going through now.  Could it be that they live the way they live because their lives are so empty that they will try to fill the void with anything that might help them escape?  They turn to sex, drugs and rock n’ roll to get away from a heart so filled with pain that they have nowhere else to turn.  Maybe they live the way that they do because they have no hope or joy in their lives.  They don’t know the unconditional love of God.  They don’t know the joy of knowing that their sins are forgiven.  Don’t wish ill upon these people!  Pray that they find the One who truly satisfies and can fill their lives with the joy and peace that comes from knowing Him!  Let us rejoice when they find Christ!  For we were all lost once and by God’s amazing grace, we are found.

Luke 15:25-32 (NIV)

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.’”


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