What Did the Prodigal Son and His Older Brother Share?

Luke 15:12 (NKJV) And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me." So he divided to them his livelihood.

Luke 15:12 (Amplified) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the livelihood [between] them.

Look at the wording and ponder the difference between "property" and "livelihood.""Property" is established wealth and is temporary. "Livelihood" is the ability to make wealth and is ongoing. While the father gave the younger son wealth, he also gave him the ability to make wealth. The father had a plan for both his sons. The sons did not realize they could make wealth. It was that livelihood that focused the younger son on his father and that his father could give him a servant’s job. The livelihood operated as a homing beacon. The father gave him life if he would just use it. He also gave life to the older son. The older son did not see life either. He did what his father asked him to do out of obligation. He did not do for his father out of righteousness and love. Neither son fit into the father’s plan at that point. The younger son headed out to be on his own and would reach the end of himself sooner. The older son stayed at home, not walking in righteousness but in dutiful obligation. How can we know this? He did not rejoice as his father did, in righteousness."More rejoicing" over the especially wicked son is what the father and his servants did together when the younger son returned home (see Luke 15:7). The older son’s attitude of significant subservience shows that he was focused on the squandered wealth and making sure his own portion was safe. Both men needed to exert the livelihood their father gave them. Had the younger son gone about obediently into the world, he could have gone without the wealth and made it on the livelihood alone. He would have succeeded because his father gave him life when he gave him the gift of livelihood. The older son would have richly increased the wealth of the homestead had he operated out of the life his father gave him. Both sons refused to live at first. Amazingly, the livelihood led the younger son home.The life of Jesus in us leads us home to the Kingdom of God, back to Our Father. When we try to generate life of our own, on our own, we fail. His life in us gives us direction, strength, and comfort. The younger son stood in the field with the pigs and saw home and father. The young man saw a vision. He struggled to get home with every physical ounce of his own strength pushing him and every mental ounce of his own strength trying to appease an awful conscience. He knew there would be less discomfort. When the son neared home, the father rushed to comfort him, laid his strength around his son, and directed him back to the way of righteousness.Life in the older son was yet unrealized. The livelihood was yet untested in his service to his father. Was it tested when his brother came home? He complained that dad never threw a party for him and his friends. The older son could have thrown a party for himself and his friends if he had just expressed his own inner desires with some faithful initiative. Is not the intent of the gift of life to express Our Father? To express the heart fully, in the giving of life to friends, is the meaning of life through us. The older son had no direction, strength, or comfort either.Our service to God must be in the newness of life that He gives us. To serve out of the old life is useless. The old life, fractured by sin, will never produce what is glorifying to God. Our cogent use of God’s gift of New Life will produce well beyond our ability to understand or replicate. We fall woefully short when we are not obedient to the call of New Life and the following exercise of that life. The New Life itself will glorify God. The livelihood in us glorifies Our Father. Jesus glorified Our Father because the livelihood always looked to Our Father for what to do. (Luke 5:19 (NKJV) Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.) Just like the prodigal, who saw his father from the perspective and influence of the gift of livelihood, we can look to Our Father for life and the corresponding action of life in us.Are you away from home in sin? Do you see The Father looking for you? Life will pull you back if you will but listen to it in you. If you don’t hear life in you, you may not have any life in you. Settle that first with The Father and Creator through His Son. You can’t leave home if you have not been home.

Listen for the direction, strength, and comfort that spiritual life brings to every heart that opens. God calls and His children answer. Sometimes He waits to call so that we will be listening. The life in you lets Him know how you are doing and that He does well to watch the road.