The Other Guy

Aug 15, 2020 548

The Other Guy

He was quiet. He went about his duties and responsibilities like the dutiful son that he was. He did the menial and tedious stuff. There is lots of drudgery involved in caring for livestock. But that was his life.

He was other person in the Prodigal Son parable. He was the older brother. He was the other guy.

I imagine that his younger brother was rather different. He, on the other hand, was a ball of exuberant extroverted-ness. He was a bit of a lovable rogue. He was in your face, impatient and brimming with confidence. And farm life wasn’t for him.

There was nowhere near enough action to keep the younger brother amused. He couldn’t wait to get on with his life. So he set to work convincing his father that not only was it time to move out but that he should have what was coming to him anyway.

Father was not at all happy with the younger son’s plan. But many discussions and tears later, his son had wore him down and was down the road and gone like a shot. In the intervening season his absence weighed on his father. All that money mixed with so little experience was bound to lead to no good thing. And through it all, the older son, the other guy stayed on the farm, working dutifully as he always had.

Our Father is always with us and wants to give us every good thing.

It was mid afternoon and the other guy was hard at work. He couldn’t help but hear commotion coming from the homestead. What was going on? As he approached, it became apparent that it was a celebration. But a celebration over what? Then he saw his younger brother. He was looking grubby and scrawny. And he was wearing Father’s tunic. Father was most joyful and animated at the return of his son. Someone told how father hiked up his robe and fairly ran down the road toward his returning son and quickly brushed aside his grovelling words.

The other guy, upon seeing and hearing this, was furious. “What’s this! That low life, no good, brother of mine gets a fattened calf celebration. I’m not having a bar of this! I’m the one that should be appreciated and valued. I’ve slaved away for the family’s wellbeing and you haven’t even given me a goat for a party with my friends.”

His Father pleaded with him to come and join in the celebration. “My son,” the father said. “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”

Sometimes, it’s easy to identify with the other guy in the Prodigal Son story. Growing up in the church and going through the motions may give you occasion to be jealous of the enthusiasm of the newest Christians. But the truth is, our Father is always with us and wants to give us every good thing.

–  Marty Stayt

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