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The Older Brother

March 30, 2011

You know some people actually like having rules, boundaries and guidelines to control their lives, and then there are others who despise the feeling of being controlled and they push against anything that feels that way for them. I would probably fall into the latter category. I know people are laughing as they read that statement. Most of my life I have been a little rebellious, but that is why I love the story of the Prodigal Son. There are many days in my life when I feel like I am at a huge celebration chowing down on the fattened calf. God has blessed me lately immensely. As I sit looking at the Rockies from my window and the crystal blue sky as a backdrop, I wonder how much I have missed out on in life because I didn’t trust God when he prompted me to do something. That thought actually works for both stories in the Prodigal Son.

You see, in the story of the Prodigal son, both sons are shown the errors of their ways. Both sons made choices to follow the paths that they did, but in the end they all lead back to the Father. I don’t know if its maturity or I am softening up in my old age, but I have a tenderer spot for the men who play the role of the older brother than before. I guess it makes me sad because they don’t ask for God to bless and challenge their lives. They are content, but weary, from being just another nice, dutiful, obligated man. That is not what God wants from us. He wants our heart! He desires passion and wanderlust from us. He wants us to chase Him, and allow Him to chase us.

In the past, I have enjoyed more helping corral the guys that are the prodigal sons because it is easy to see their passion about life. There is nothing wrong with a good party; just ask Jesus. But here lately I have enjoyed much more helping men who have played by the rules loosen up and enjoy their lives. The freedom their wives, sons, daughters and friends experience because of this change is amazing! I love freedom however it comes now!

This blog is written in honor of my good friend, Charles Williford. May God continue to bless you my friend as you explore the freedom of life. Your impact on others is amazing! Love you Charles!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ralph McLelland permalink
    March 30, 2011 10:59 am

    You know, that Charles you speak about is an amazing man. Thanks Charles for being a brother and keeping me grounded in my Faith. You help me see me as God sees me and I love that about you.

    • March 30, 2011 3:03 pm

      I hope CHarles reads your comment, because every man needs to hear these words.

  2. March 30, 2011 12:53 pm

    boy howdy Mike —
    You sure have been writing a lot lately, and I’m glad.
    This piece about the heart of the older brother reminds me that I have carried that pride of my own experience as the older brother — to hold myself over my younger brother who was more publicly ‘prodigal,’ in the popular use of that term, than was I. If God is calling me to confess that to him, I will keep my ears and heart open for that nudge.
    And, funny thing, as I read Ralph’s words above, since I know his voice, I can ‘hear’ him say it as I read it.

  3. Jerry Goddard permalink
    March 30, 2011 1:41 pm

    Henri Nouwen wrote a little book about this parable. “The Return of the Prodigal Son”. The cover is Rembrandt’s imagination of the scene of his return. The older brother is standing by watching disapprovingly while the father receives his broken son. The father, the rebellious son and an angry brother. A trinity of life.

    It strikes me that, at times, we are all each of the three. I have had flashes of compassion like the father. I have many stories of my own rebellious nature. But, frankly, I’m probably most embarrassed at my similarity to the older brother, just plain angry. Angry at the disappointments of life, the times I’ve been misunderstood and mistreated not to mention the unmet expectations. Then into that morass comes the compassion of the father. The father, always looking for reconciliation, ready to forgive and receive, anxious to re-establish the relationship which is really the basis of our happiness.

    Good one, Mike.

    • March 30, 2011 3:02 pm

      Thanks Jerry! What is so sad for me about the older brother is that he got to a point where he quit asking for blessings even though the Father was willing to give him everything. I wonder how many times I have quit asking God what to do and just accepted whatever I received. Thanks brother! Love you and your voice!

  4. Corky Chandler permalink
    March 30, 2011 7:44 pm

    Mike,

    I am astounded Brother. Having known you in high school this to me demonstrates the awesome power, grace and mercy of our loving God. I have to admit that I am shaken and grounded after reading your written words. WOW!!! a modern day “Paul.” My prayers are with you, Press the fight. Cork

    • March 30, 2011 8:04 pm

      I am the Prodigal son Corky. I will have to tell you the story over a cup of coffee sometime.

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