Wednesday night I was part of a group of folks discussion the Prodigal Son story.
Throughout the discussion there seemed to be a trend that I didn’t realize until later thinking about the lesson and discussion: people are either like the Prodigal Son or they’re like the “righteous brother”. The testimonies of most people seem to lean with one theme or the other. The drug addict. The alcoholic. The “wild child” who all found their way back to God. Then you have the people who were “brought up in church” and were so “legalistic” just like the older brother.
At first, I thought I was like the prodigal son because of my not getting saved until I was 24 and the pitfalls that I’ve had in life.
And then I realized…I’m a mix of each one. And if most Christians are honest…they’re a good mix too.
As I pondered which one I “fit”, I realized that while I could easily fit inside the “righteous brother” mode in that I have certain things I do every day that I know please God…prayer, Bible study, etc….I’m also quite prone to slipping back into the prodigal mode.
For example, when something doesn’t go the way I would like it to go.
I’ll come up against a situation where I really wanted God to come through…like with a financial issue, for example…I find myself getting frustrated. Thinking that if God didn’t care, why should I? Then I’d do something stupid like eating a whole bag of Swedish Fish at one sitting. See? I’m committing gluttony! Take that, God!
Thinking that my misbehaving somehow will get God’s attention because apparently He didn’t come through in the other issue.
Ah, the foolishness.
I think if most of us were honest, we have those times where we do the same things.
It’s not that we want to be the prodigal or we want to be the pharisee. We want that relationship with God where we’re close with Him and we’re soaking in His presence but we feel like we have to work for it. Or we have to do something to get His attention.
When in reality, He can’t love us any more than we do right now.
We can’t work for it.
We can’t do anything to get more attention.
So most of the time, we’re focused on everything else and so we lose sight of that simple fact.
So…are you a blend of the prodigal and a pharisee?