Monday, October 29, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: A Life Lesson inspired by a Bible story

Don’t Take It For Granted
A devotional by Quantrilla Ard

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’” 
–Luke 15:31 (NIV)

As parents, our responsibility is to pour into our children wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. We are to teach them about how to discern right from wrong and to discern between what’s good and what’s best. Watching them grow up and become independent thinkers is equal parts excitement and terror, as you know the challenges and difficulties that accompany growing up. Peer pressure, societal demands, and personal preferences all play roles in the decisions our children make. We can only hope and pray that they will choose the good.

Many sermons and devotionals have drawn inspiration, taught object lessons, and mined messages of hope from Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. I love this story in its entirety and in each of the characters’ stories. Today, we will focus on the brother, the one who stayed behind and the one who in my humble opinion had the most to lose. Let’s dig a little deeper into his story.

The Bible doesn’t specifically go into the historical details of this family. Honestly, I’ve always wondered where the mother was! We are only afforded a snapshot in time of this hypothetical family: a hard-working father and his sons. 

One son, tired of his daily duties and ready to “make it” on his own asks for his inheritance and leaves home. We know how the story goes, he loses all he owns and returns home destitute and apologetic. The father is moved with compassion on his son and welcomes him home with open arms and celebration.

The other son, the one left at home, broods over his father’s reaction to his brother’s return. The parable doesn’t discuss what this son did while his brother was away. However, he is left at home to help the father as his choice was made for him once his brother decided to leave. Someone had to stay behind. Now I’m not sure if there was an actual invitation from the other brother to leave, but many of us can relate to him having your circumstances dictated by the behavior and decisions of someone else. It doesn’t seem fair, and if our emotions are unchecked, the root of bitterness can take hold in our hearts and lives.

Here are a few areas where I believe the brother that stayed at home, lost sight of the prize:

- He viewed being at home with his father as a punishment rather than a blessing.

- He resented his brother for leaving but didn’t show him grace when he returned.

- He focused on the external blessings his brother received and did not recognize the internal change that had taken place in his life.

- He viewed his brother as being selfish for leaving but didn’t himself take advantage of his father’s best qualities, forgiveness, and compassion.

How could this brother have lived with his father and worked beside him all those years and not reflect his character? Sound familiar yet? How can we who know the character of our Heavenly Father and have spent time with Him not reflect His character? Why do we question God when good things seem to happen for others, while we have waited in His Presence with our hands outstretched? Have we too, taken our relationship with the Father for granted by allowing ourselves to be in His presence but letting the roots of bitterness and lack of compassion permeate our lives?

What the brother failed to recognize is that the father would have just as readily given him whatever he asked for. All the father had belonged to him as well. Friends, let’s draw close to our Father not in hopes of what we will receive as a reward but because we love Him and want His character to be reproduced in us. And because He is such a good Father, He will sing and rejoice over us also when we come to ourselves and return to Him. Let’s desire the Giver more than the gifts He gives.

Author Bio:

Quantrilla (Quanny) Ard is a faith-based personal and spiritual development writer who lives in the D.C. Metro area with her husband and three littles.

In addition to being a dedicated wife and mother, she is an entrepreneur, doctoral student, and curator of all things lovely.

As a woman on her own quest of shining a light on the shadowy, hidden places in her life, she writes as the PhDMamma about things she knows to be true in hopes to encourage others to do the same.

Her spiritual goals and her love for Christ propels her quest to share the journey with other women: to walk alongside them and encourage them with words, deeds, and wisdom. Quanny believes in the power that is within collective strength, community, and fellowship.

You will find her wherever people are sharing stories of triumph.

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