“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’ The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!'” Luke 15:25-32 (MSG)
Has someone ever thrown a surprise birthday party for you? They had been planning it for weeks, and they were just trying to keep it hidden from you. Maybe your friends started acting weird around you, and you became suspicious. Then, the moment culminates and the surprise is revealed. Everyone is there to celebrate you.
As the lost son came home, the father threw a giant celebration. However, not everyone was celebrating. The older brother, who had faithfully stayed with his father, was angry. How could his father celebrate his brother who had forsaken his family to seek out pleasure? The older brother did not understand one thing, the unconditional love of his father. In the same way, God celebrates each time a lost son or daughter comes back to him. But if we have walked with God for a while, it can be easy to sit on the sidelines and point the finger. Why does the church make such a big deal out of that person getting saved when I have been serving faithfully all these years? Resentment can build up in our hearts, and the idea of throwing a celebration for someone else seems unfair. However, if we understand how much we have been given by God, then it is easy to turn around and celebrate someone else receiving a promotion, salvation, or opportunity. Next time you have the opportunity to sit or celebrate, break out the streamers and throw a celebration for someone else’s spotlight moment.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.