Saturday, January 7, 2017

More lessons from the Parable of the Prodigal Son

I was reading the parable of the prodigal son recently and I noticed that both the sons had alienated themselves from their father in different ways.

The younger son thought he could enjoy his inheritance independent of his father, and then when he came to himself and returned, he still had a problem of feeling like he was not worthy to be called a son.  The father in the parable had to show him he was still his son, clothing him with the robe, ring, sandals, and giving him a feast with fatted calf.

The older son alienated himself by getting angry and not going into the house to the party. Even though he knew he was a son, he still didn’t feel like a son because to his mind a bigger deal was made over his returning brother than himself, even though he had stayed obedient.  He questioned whether he was a son too because he felt he didn’t experience the benefits of sonship. His father had to remind him that he was “ever with me” and “all that I have is thine,” which meant that the oldest son really could have a party at home whenever he wanted.

I suspect that we as members alienate ourselves from our Heavenly Father in those two different ways. If we sin awfully, we think we’re not worthy to be His child anymore. If we stay faithful, we may question whether we really are His child, thinking we can’t or are not enjoying the privileges.

Satan would really like us to believe those things, so we need to recognize the source of those thoughts and throw them out. Also, just like the father in the parable worked to overcome each son’s difficulties, if we recognize how we are alienating ourselves and take it to the Lord, He will help us. 

I appreciate the reassurance the father gave to his oldest son. The reminder “you are ever with me” corresponds to having the Spirit to be with us always, and “all that I have is thine” corresponds to the promise of someday receiving celestial glory.


Anonymous said...

I think it's good to imagine the sons as the liberal and conservative membership of through church as well. While it's usually the liberals who are wayward from the teachings of the prophets, sometimes it's the conservatives. And when our brother finally comes home on an issue, we should celebrate and not scold or sulk.

All this means we have a scriptural mandate to more parties and budget hawks can simply take their queue from this parable about the wisdom of complaining when we kill the fatted calf (IE. Fancy steak dinners).

Michaela Stephens said...

Interesting that you should bring in politics. Perhaps that gives you a helpful way to think about things after an acrimonious election. I don't know if I would have thought to use the parable that way.

As for having parties, I think on a basic level it gives us permission to rejoice always and celebrate our blessings. How material or elaborate we get with the parties has to be kept in bounds of wisdom.

Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous.