I am living out the rest of the story. In a time when my focus should be my husband, myself and our grandson and daughter, I am required to spend time, energy and money on my sister. It occurred to me today that I am living out the part of the parable which Jesus left out – what happens after the father dies. So here is the rest of the story.
The prodigal son comes home, his health wrecked, and he is penniless. The father is rejoicing, as seems natural, for his lost son has returned to the fold. The elder brother, who has worked all these years, and is growing old, does not rejoice for he has been faithful, has helped and supported his father, has never asked for anything from the father. Later that day, perhaps, the older son does rejoice, because his father’s demeanor has changed; his father at last is happy. But as time goes on the elder brother realizes that he will be “forever” tied to the younger brother, for he will be required to care for, to support the younger one for all of the time which remains to them. The younger brother cannot work, cannot help around the farm, cannot watch over the flocks or grow the grain – he will just sit in his wheelchair needing and helpless. Like the albatross around the neck of the sailor, there is nothing the older brother can do to relieve his burden. His fate, his reward, for being the “good son” is to carry this burden all the rest of his life.
No wonder Jesus never told the rest of the story.
After considering this for several days, I see that there could be a multitude of endings to the story. The older brother could fall ill and be taken care of by the younger; both could die before the father, etc.
After pondering my situation for some time, I realized that if I love the Lord, I should love the crosses which He sends to me, for they are crosses sent with love. I could at least accept them with love.