Steak sandwich please



“Who was not overjoyed to see the prodigal son back home?” asked the Sunday school teacher. “The fatted calf” came the reply.

I know, it’s an old joke for the story we all know very well The Prodigal Son.  But, if I am honest with you, there is a character in this story that troubles me.  The older brother.  It seems as if life is just unfair to him.  He labours away day by day, faithfully doing everything that is asked of him.  When his younger brother leaves home, he is faced with doing even more work and, as for his father, he just spends his days watching the horizon and not pulling his weight!

You would have thought he would be pleased to see little brother home again.  His guilt would make him work harder and dad would, finally, get back with the program.  But, big brother just cannot hold it in anymore;

But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

(Luke 15 vs. 29 – 30)


In some respects, I can sympathise with him.  All he wants is some recognition for what he is and what he has done “some thanks would be nice” is how I read this, at first.  But, his language gives it away “I” “MINE” “ME” as he spits out his frustration.  This has become all about him, and he is not seeing the bigger picture for the family.  His vision is just as narrow and selfish as the younger brothers.

One of the many themes that this story presents is grace.  Gods love and forgiveness is not something we deserve but, something He freely gives because He is gracious.  The younger brother is shown grace as His father freely welcomes him back into the family home.  When I have messed up, I love the idea of grace.  But, what about grace to those who are messing with me?

So, the older brother? Well, I see this as a story of grace.  Grace is not just something we receive, it is something we should give.  No person is perfect, we all need a little grace from time to time.  Perhaps, we need to think who needs us to show them a little grace today?


Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now am found

Was blind but now I see


Amazing grace how sweet the sound

God’s gift of life is free

To all that are in trouble bound

He makes you truly free


Amazing grace how sweet the sound

His grace can change us all

Though sin and strife and hurts abound

His grace can heal them all


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