Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I keep a file on several hundreds of scripture passages and stories. No file is thicker than the one I keep on the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32). If I say “Prodigal Son “ to believers in Jesus or nonbelievers in Jesus they have some knowledge in their mental hard drive of a “prodigal.” It is such a great story that when you say “prodigal,” most people know that someone has gone wayward, and perhaps they will return?

I would ask that you consider a new title for this story. Try this one on, “The Lament of the Eldest Son.” How does that feel? You see, I am an eldest son and I fit all the stereotypes of one. I like to overachieve. I demand that life be fair, and I too often want to be the beneficiary of all that I have earned! You see I have no problem with the words of the eldest son... when he saw his brother had returned after losing his inheritance in Vegas and instead of punishing him for his irresponsible behavior, the Father decides to throw a party. I think the elder brother who had stayed behind and grinded away at the family business had every right to say to his Dad, "Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command, yet you have never given me a young goat so I could party with my friends. But when this son of yours returned home who has devoured your property with prostitutes and loose living, you killed the fatted calf for him! (Luke 15:29,30)

I think the eldest son was right on. The Father's reaction to the “prodigal is not fair.” What I have learned from being a Father now for 23 years 8 months and 10 days is that the genius to parenting is the science of how to be unfair. That is how life is. Life is unfair. The successful parents learn to be unfair and do it well. Some kids need more encourage than others. Some children need more patience and more mercy than another. I think all we who are prone to being a bit (maybe a lot) self righteous as an elder brother can be thankful that God is merciful Heavenly Father who does not treat us justly. God offers each of us more mercy than we deserve. Thank God.

Too often the reward for being responsible in the Kingdom of God is that the responsible get more responsibility. It is not fair. But it was also not fair that Jesus, the Son of God, suffer on the cross for the worlds' fathers, mothers, youngest sons/daughters, eldest sons/daughters, and the prodigals of all genders and race.. Let us give thanks and rejoice that we can partner with such a God in the kingdom.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqJsBRFdrA0

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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