Summary: Here’s a different look at the parable of the lost son from Luke 15. It’s a narrative sermon that focuses not as much on the lost son, but more on the rest of the story...the older brother’s reaction.
The Older Brother
By Matt Stidham for the Whitewright Church of Christ
I’d like to begin by telling you a story this morning.
This story is a pretty common family story...while you’re listening to this story, some of you might be able to think of a family you know that could very easily fit into this story.
It’s a story about a father and his two sons. I’d like to talk about the father first. He was a hard worker, and he also had many employees that were hard workers as well. The father in this story had secured a great fortune. His home was full of all the riches anyone could ever imagine. This man was very wealthy, and loved his children very much.
Now let’s look at this man’s two sons.
The older of the two sons was a hard worker himself. He was dedicated to the family, and worked hard for the family. He shared in his father’s wealth, and enjoyed all the benefits of his father’s household. This young man was the son that every parent wishes they had...followed the rules, was very dedicated, and did a lot to please his father. In fact, he had worked had and served his father well in the family business for many years. This was the ideal son.
The other, younger son, well, he was kind of the black sheep of the family. He was a free spirit if you will. This son was interested in himself...what would make him happy, what he might want to do. This young man strikes me as the type that probably tried to get away with all he could. Maybe he was a bit lazy. He seems to be the type that lived by his own rules, with little regard for the consequences...he was only concerned about what would benefit him, and make him happy.
Well the brothers grew up together. And much like any family the had their moments of disagreement over exactly what should be done, and how to do it.
But one day, the younger son decided he’d had all he could take of his family. Even though his father had given him so much and provided for him...he had all he could want, he just couldn’t stand it any longer and decided he wanted out.
He went to see his father. Now I don’t know the exact words that were spoken, but I can imagine the conversation went something like this...
“Dad, I’m sick of living by your rules all the time. You think you’re so smart, and know what’s best for me but you don’t know me...I know what will make me happy, and all you try to do is keep me from enjoying life. I want out! I’ve seen your will, and I know that you plan on giving everything to my brother and I...I’ll tell you what, give me my half now, and I’m out of here...you won’t see or hear from me again because I can make it on my own!”
Well...as you can imagine, the father was probably hurt, but not really surprised. You see, this father was a very wise man and he had seen children rebel before, but he loved his children very much...and the fact that his younger son wanted to turn his back on the family really hurt the father. But the father loved his son, and decided that he wouldn’t force his will upon his son...after all, he was a grown boy and could make decisions for himself. The father gave the younger son his money and the younger son headed out on his own.
Fast forward a couple of days. The younger son has now loaded up everything he owns and has head out as far as he could go from his home. He began by hitting all the parties... He was the life of the party, sharing his new found wealth, buying all the drinks, partying with anyone he could find. I imagine this young man trying anything that someone would put in front of him...alcohol, drugs, prostitutes...you name it. He was living it up.
Well, what usually happens to a party boy who doesn’t work happened to this young man. He woke up one morning and realized that his wallet was empty, and so was his stomach... he had no food, and on top of that things weren’t going too well with the economy either. There hadn’t been rain in a while and so food was short...so short that he couldn’t find any handouts from anyone. He wasn’t really qualified to work in a lot of areas, but he did find his way to a farm...feeding pigs. That’s hard work. I’ve spent some time around pigs, and if you’ve never spent time around pig styes...don’t. It’s not a pleasant experience. But that’s all this young man could do. Things got so bad for this young man that he wished he was as as well off as the pigs were...at least they got fed regularly, and really had nothing to worry about.