I know the story of the prodigal son is one of the more famous parables of Jesus. Many people have heard it, and I daresay many Christians have heard multiple sermons on it.
You can find the text of the parable here, in the Message.
A couple of observations about the younger son. He is impatient, and impulsive, characteristics common in youth. He wants his inheritance NOW. He does not want to wait to receive it, to put in his time serving the family, working for his father, becoming a man worthy of what his father will leave to him when he dies. He does not think about the long term benefits of patiently waiting for his inheritance, about the character that will be formed in him through hard work and discipline. No. He wants what is rightfully his NOW.
Where is there undue impatience and impulsive tendencies in your life?
Insensitive to what his departure means for anyone but himself, the younger son gets his things together and leaves his home, it seems without a backward glance. He knew what he wanted – pleasures of the world – and he knew where and how to get them. He now had both the knowledge and the means, so he went to seek his pleasures, never minding how this would affect his family and their reputation.
Are you seeking your own good without regard to how this affects others?
After he regains his senses, has a genuine change of heart and returns to his father, he thinks himself forever unworthy to be called his father’s son. Yet, the father is not even listening to his son’s words, he is so overjoyed his son has returned. He orders a grand party, and entirely reinstates his youngest to sonship. No matter what the sin, no matter how unworthy he feels, he has not has sinned enough to overcome the father’s love for him.
If you are a prodigal, God is going to throw an eternal party for you! The ritziest party you have ever been to! Dancing, music, excellent food, family, and an eternally loving Father! What a beautiful picture!
The older brother is always with the father. Consistently and diligently working for his father. This son seems the more conscientious of the two, not following his younger brother in demanding his inheritance, or ever asking for much from his father.
Do you ask much of God? Or do you treat him like an imperial dinner guest, not wanting to step on His toes?
And though he is faithful to his father, the older brother feels slighted by his father’s actions towards the younger brother. Jealousy has crept into the family relationships. The father does not love the older son any less because he threw a party for the younger. In fact, the older had many more chances to receive the father’s love because he faithfully served him many years.
How have you seen God’s blessing in your life as you have faithfully served Him?
The father further says that everything he has belongs to the older son, pointing not only to the fairness of the situation – what is a huge party compared to the rest of his father’s wealth? – but also to the closeness between the father and older son.
Think of the treasures you are storing up in heaven because of your faithfulness to the Father.
It seems implied that the older son never had a party, never had access to his father’s abundant resources because he never asked. If all that the father has is the older son’s, then his resources are available for his son to use (but not squander). You do not have because you do not ask. Ask, and the Father will give you good gifts.
What do you need to ask your Father for? Not selfishly, but from your heart?
Just ask, and see what God will do!