“So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything… Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in”- Luke 15:11-32
Although it’s just a story, the parable of the two sons is rich with meaning and practical application for our lives. Upon first glance, a reader will want to identify with the prodigal son, a young boy lost within his own selfish ambition, lust for more and ingratitude for what his earthly (and ultimately heavenly) has given him. When we apply this to the series on spiritual cultivation, the main message is fairly obvious: it is through repentance that we grow in our relationship with our Father and that His unending love and forgiveness for His people supersedes any of our sins.
One thing I would like to point out about the use of the field in this passage is that the field offers hope, but it also offers lostness, too. For the Prodigal, the field full of pods meant rock bottom-- in his world, he could sink no lower than the same place the pigs ate. This is the place where his revelation and repentance takes place. But for the eldest brother, the field means a place of repentance and bitterness. After all, clearly the eldest father couldn’t possibly appreciate all his hard work, could he? For the eldest, the field is a place where he is constantly reminded of the betrayal of the prodigal to leave the eldest with the responsibility of taking care of the property. For the prodigal, the field is a place of true spiritual growth, as he learns hard lessons about gratitude, hospitality, forgiveness and repentance. For the eldest, the field represents a place where bitterness and resentment instead of the seeds of grace, take root.
Where are you in your spiritual growth? Are you in a place where bitterness and resentment have taken root? Are you willing to repent of those things so God can allow true growth to take place?
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