Messing Up Without Moving Out
By Frank Pollard
Have you noticed how we tend to edit the Bible? We are
almost certain to end this account with the prodigal's
return. verse 24 is a happy ending, a climax ... "And they
began to be merry."
This is where Hollywood would let the credits roll. The
boy is back, there is a joyous homecoming, the best calf has
been butchered, the smell of barbecued beef and the sound of
happy music is extending an invitation to all in the whole
town to come to the party. Lights on, let the big horse with
the white wings fly across the screen. This has been a
But our Lord does not stop there. The plot is just
heating up. Jesus is getting to His point.
When they heard this tale of the other prodigal, the
older brother, those first century critics knew that Jesus
hadl turned their wordw back at them.
"You criticized me for being with sinners, helping them,
finding their way back to the Father. I criticize you for
not doing that. For assuming that faith in God is to be
greedily grasped and hoarded rather than shared with people
who need it too."
They got the point. Many of us need to get it too.
They were the elder son in that story, the one who stayed in
the father's house, worked on the father's farm, performed
what he perceived to be the necessary duties, yet strayed a
long way from the father's heart and from the father's love.
The Whining Christian
The older brother came from the fields to see all the
preparations being made and he heard the peoples' shouts.
Stopping a busy servant, he asked, "What's going on here?"
The servant said, "Your brother is back and your father has
killed the pen fed calf because his son is home, safe and
sound." What great news, yet he was angry and would not go
in to the party so his father came out and pled with him to
come and welcome his brother. He said to his father, "look,
for many years I have been serving you and I have never
There are 7267 characters in the full content. This excerpt only shows a 2000 character sample of the full content.