Luk 15:28-31 – “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.'” (NASB)
Jesus is sharing about the father. So often we focus on the prodigal son and how the father takes him back. But rarely do we focus on the son who stayed home, the “servant son.” In fact, we probably ought to call this the story of the Servant Son rather than the Prodigal Son. The implication is just as far-reaching.
The son who stayed home owned it all. It was his inheritance and it had already been given to him. But like us he never realized it and never accessed it. He lived a life of quiet desperation, never realizing he owned it all and could enjoy it all.
He acted as if he was a servant because he did not understand his position with the father. He served his father as a servant, not as a son, “all these years” doing all the father asked, believing he had to work for his own wages. And while working hard he kept waiting for his father to give and reward him with a young goat to celebrate with his friends… but it never happened. However, in his father’s eyes, all that his father had was already his. He was not a servant who had to work for wages. He was an owner who owned it all and did not have to work for any of it. If he wanted a goat to celebrate with, it was already his to enjoy. All he had to do was take it.
This is a picture of us as children of God. Jesus added this section for a reason. If it wasn’t true, he would not have added it. This story is not just about the prodigal son. It’s also a lesson about the son who stayed home. It seems to me Jesus added this section to illustrate that all the father has is ours already (this is the essence of the blood covenant Jesus made with us at the last supper). Not later, but now. And we are not servants who work hard for small wages. All we have to do is believe it to be true, believe that we already own it, and access it … as long as we have permission from the Lord to do it.
It’s just as if we had $1 million sitting in a bank account at our full disposal. If we never knew it we would never use it. Jesus is telling us it is ours. And if it is, it’s time to realize it and tap into what He has provided.
This is supported in Gal 4:1-7 – “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father [at which time he will be the full owner]. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come [for us to become full owners], God sent forth his Son… that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons [full owner sons, not slave-like children], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (ESV)
Here’s how Gal 4:7 reads in other translations…
(TLB) – “Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned.”
(Passion) – “Now we’re no longer living like slaves under the law, but we enjoy being God’s very own sons and daughters! And because we’re his, we can access everything our Father has—for we are heirs of God through Jesus, the Messiah!”
We are heirs with access to our inheritance now, not later.