Have you ever felt like the story of the prodigal son was unfair? I've heard it over and over since I was a little girl, and I never liked it. Why? Because I felt terrible for the older, faithful son. Remember, the younger son asked for his father's inheritance early and then wasted it on foolish living. When his money ran out, and he fell on hard times, he returned to his father's house and a party was thrown in honor of his return. Of course, when the faithful brother heard of the party, he was upset.
I recently read this story again and, of course I can see that the father loved his foolish son. So what does that mean for us? God IS love. He throws a party when we want to be with him, no matter what we have done. We can always come back. I love that about God!
But what's in it for the faithful son, the one who did what was right all those years? This is it: EVERYTHING.
In Luke 15:31 "His father said to him, Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found."
The faithful son got it all. God has the perfect balance, one that we try to achieve; and this story is a beautiful picture of his love and his justice. He loves with his whole heart, and he rewards faithfulness. In Romans 8:17 we read "And since we are his children, we will share his treasures--for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too." The father threw a party because he loved his boy, and yet the faithful son received the whole inheritance.
So where are you? Are you the prodigal that needs to come home? God's arms are opened. He will throw a party for you and love you like you never left in the first place! Or, maybe you have been faithful all these years, and you are wondering what is in it for you? Everything. God's love also means that he rewards obedience and faithfulness. Maybe you are like me, and you are trying to figure out God. This is a good story for us. We can copy the Father. He is a good one.