For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Those that miss out on the feast (2)
Apart from specific sins, there is a second reason for why we can miss out on the feast; a selfish and cold-hearted attitude toward our brothers and sisters. In Luke 15:11-32 we find the account of the 'prodigal son'. In this story, the father represents God who is good, merciful and forgiving, the elder son represents the pharisee who wants to be recognized for his justice and doesn't have love for his brothers, and the younger son represents the repentant sinner.
In this story, the hearts of these three characters are made manifest. When the younger son returns from his wandering, the father orders that a party be prepared for the arrival of the son who had been lost but has now been found. But the eldest brother felt very differently to the father. He was angered by what his brother had done, and he then declares that which he was seemingly always thinking; his wounded heart is made evident, and he begins to show his agenda, claiming his rights.
When reading the story we can see that the eldest son doesn't know his father's heart well, because if he had known it, the reception given to his brother wouldn't have surprised him. It seems that he was only accustomed to obeying orders (v. 29: "I have never disobeyed you"). He doesn't know the father's sadness for the absent son; nor the hope that he had every morning of seeing him return. He refers to his brother in a depreciative manner. He says to the father: "But when this man, your son came", as if saying: "He is yours, I don't have anything to do with him". He didn't call him "my brother".
Many of us have this type of heart, either when a brother cheats us, or he falls into some sin, or he doesn't think as we do. We distance him in our heart, and we hardly consider him a brother. And if he has gone, it doesn't matter to us if he returns, and we even glory in our own faithfulness to the Lord. Because of this, the biggest brother missed out on the feast, the joy, the dance, the banquet; because of his selfishness, because of his roots of bitterness, and because he thought that he was right, and not his father.
Sometimes, we do the same, we believe that things should be just as we think they ought to be, and with this attitude we are almost daring to say: "I am wiser than the Father".
We should loose these bonds, and look at the Father's heart which is good and merciful, and the only thing that He wants is that we be joyous with our younger brother. He wants to see us together, for that very reason he says: "I was asking him to come in". He wanted His children to be reconciled, to forgive each other, and to participate together in the rejoicing. Only in this way would His joy be complete.
That is, without a doubt, the most serious thing. When we refuse to participate in the feast because of small matters, we afflict the Father's heart. Psalm 133 says that it is good for the brothers to be together in harmony, because in that way, the oil that descends from the Head who is Christ, reaches to the whole body, the church. Don't let us miss out on the feast. Let us repent of our selfish, cold and scornful heart.