Thursday, April 24, 2008

Selfishness Kills Joy

Today in my Bible reading I was in the 15th chapter of Luke, the story of the Prodigal Son. On this occasion I noticed something I had never seen before.

Luke 15:12 “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.”

“So he divided his wealth between them.” That means the older brother got his inheritance at the same time as the younger. Somehow, I’ve missed that. I’ve always had a bit of understanding of the older brother’s plight, since he was at home diligently helping, waiting for his share.

So I speculate:

If the dad truly divided his estate between them; and, if the older had his share already; and, if the younger wasted away all of his share; and, if the dad gave the younger, upon his return, a robe and a ring and sandals and a fatted calf…then where did all those things come from? Did they come from the older brothers share?

Could it be that his selfishness over HIS stuff robbed him of the joy of his brother’s return and his father’s grace?

Recently, a close friend of mine was given an opportunity that I had wanted. I was really bummed. I let my selfishness over what I thought was going to be mine rob me of joy for my friend and the joy that should have been mine over the whole occasion in question. Once again, I’m reminded of how much of the “older brother” I have in me.

Phil. 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.


Mike Hardin said...

Great post! And to think that older son got a double portion. Even after the feast, he would have so much more than his brother had been given.

walter price said...


Great point! I had forgotten about the double portion going to the elder.