Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maybe The Older Brother Has A Point!

Luke 15:
11 ¶ And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was ameet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Sometimes I feel like the older brother! Well, not exactly the same, but similar.  I mean, at the end of the story the older brother is angry that his younger brother is being honored and basically recieves the same reward as him.  It seems like the older brother doesn't feel that his younger brother should recieve the same reward, despite the fact that the younger brother has repented.

I think my feelings are different!  I mean, I definately wouldn't want anybody condemned! In fact, I hope we all recieve the same reward: Eternal Life- all that the Father has.  My problem arises when I think sometimes that I'm missing out! I mean look at the Prodigal Son! Let's just define the word "Prodigal" for a second:


1.wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.
2.giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually fol. by of or with): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
3.lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.

4.a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.
Now how about "Riotous"

1.(of an act) characterized by or of the nature of rioting or a disturbance of the peace.
2.(of a person) inciting or taking part in a riot.
3.given to or marked by unrestrained revelry; loose; wanton: riotous living.
4.boisterous or uproarious: riotous laughter.
5.hilariously funny.

I mean, I'm pretty sure this lifestyle sounds more fun! So what's the point!? Sometimes I look at others (even people I love dearly) and think they "get to have their cake and eat it too!" They've gone out and had a period of "riotous living" and repented and now they have the perfect fairy-tale ending: married in the temple, serving missions, active families.  They got to go out and be wild and have a bunch of experiences and they still get all the blessings of the gospel! I'm so happy for them! I think the blessings of the gospel are amazing and I'm glad that they get them, but what did I get!? I mean really! Sometimes I think I just missed out- maybe I'm still missing out!

I read....

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

But then I think: "Bull crap!" Because the scriptures also say:

42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
So which one is it? Is it possible to "have your cake and eat it too?" Maybe some of you can enlighten me, because sometimes I just don't really know!


In The Doghouse said...

Just look at all the things the older brother missed out on by upholding his birthright blessing.....

He never got to experience the thrill of sleeping with the pigs and the physical and emotional consequences that remain from such an adventure. He missed out on the lasting physical scars that could have continually plagued him from associating with such filthy (after all sleeping with a pig is not the cleanest circumstance), and selfish (pigs are carnivorous... they will even eat their friends alive) animals. It is true, luckily he could change his course once again and be clean spiritually but no matter how he tries he can not erase the memory of those darned animals, and maybe even the lasting physical effects.

More important still, he missed out on experiencing the feeling of being “in want.” The famine that the younger brother felt was that of a spiritual nature (land= body), he understood what it was like to be truly alone. The older brother never got the opportunity to experience the heart break of seeing false friends flee, of longing for association with loving family, of being totally alone without even the spirit to comfort him. This is the feeling of “outer darkness” that promotes weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. (it certainly doesn’t sound that fun to me anymore) He never had the opportunity to feel what it was truly like to be “spent”. He would never feel what it was like to be “unworthy” to be His son.

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too, but be careful you might just get fat! And we know how hard it really is to lose that weight don’t we???

Greg Dowden said...

I remain somewhat unconvinced. I mean what's so bad about being fat? In a famine who would die first, a fat person or a skinny person? Lol.

Nehemiah 9:25 And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.

Fat doesn't sound so bad. Pointing out all of the negative things the younger son experienced, doesn't answer the question of what did the older son really gain! I mean I've rarely heard anyone talk about these supposed scars they have with anything but jovial reminicense accompanied by a "but this is REAL happiness now, thank goodness I got active!" Thanks for the disclaimer. And if exaultation IS the goal tell me this: do God's feel guilt? I don't think so! It doesn't sound like a godly attribute to me.

So what does the older son really gain. A life laboring in the fields, maintaining his blissful ignorance of the fallen world that surrounds him?! I'd say great except I don't think ignorance is a blessing! 

Doctrine & Covenants 131:6 says, "It is imposible for a man to be saved in ignorance."

Further more how is the older son know how to parent his children? How will he give compassion? How will he truly understand? The easy cop out answer is you don't have to sin to gain experience- look at Christ, he lived a perfect life and never sinned. Unfortunately that answer neglects to mention that while he personally didn't sin, he took upon himself all sin! He felt it physically and spiritually- so THAT'S why He has experience.

Maybe it's even better to have a few scars?

shawna said...

let me just say it simply...NO YOU DID NOT MISS OUT, and those people may look all hunky dory, but honey, there is this thing called consequenses!