What a Brat!
Verse 13a Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country
We continue with our prodigal family. Today we take a look at the big brother’s part at the beginning of the story. Just as with the father, the older brother is often related with only the last part of the parable; but let’s remember that verses 11-12 say that the father had two sons that he divided his wealth between.
The older brother begins the story as an observer. He has likely been an observer of his younger brother for years. He knows the troublemaker he is. Then he sees what seems cold even for little brother – the demanding of an inheritance. Can’t you imagine the thoughts going through the big brother’s mind? But did he have a responsibility at this point?
Big brother spent a couple of days observing the actions of his father and little brother. He watched as his father’s heart broke. He watched his brother walk around not noticing the pain he was causing their father. He notices his brother pack up his half of the inheritance. He sees his brother leave and he sees their father standing there watching the little brat walk away with a bounce in his step, excited about the life he was looking for.
But that is part of the problem, isn’t it? He observed all these things but it doesn’t appear that he did anything about what he witnessed. What may have been different if he had taken the big brother role seriously enough to speak up to the little brother? He could have asked the little brother about the choices he was making. He could have tried to talk him out of leaving, pointing out all that he was leaving behind. But he didn’t.
Jewish fathers were to be honored, there is even a commandment about that, so maybe it was out of respect that the older brother didn’t speak up and help his father see how foolish his little brother was. And so he just observed.
Do we ever find ourselves just observing when our Christian siblings could use us to speak up to keep them from making mistakes in life? Maybe we need to take a lesson from big brother and stop just observing and speak up. Doesn’t love stand for truth and speak truth? Then so should we. We should also take our concerns to the Father.
Making It Personal
Have you stood by, like the older brother, and watched someone push God away? Have you ever spoken truth into someone’s life? How do you respond to someone speaking truth into your life?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to tattle? Do you ever try to help your brothers and sisters or maybe a friend so that they don’t get into trouble? What would you do if someone tried to stop you from doing something naughty?
Father, thank You for reminding us that we are to care for each other. Give us the strength to show our Christian family love by trying to keep them from making mistakes. And help us be humble enough to accept correction ourselves. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.