Have you ever felt that you have been faithful, consistent, loyal and yet found that you seem to be over looked? Have you ever said “I have done all the right things and just don’t seem to be blessed like other people are”? You are not alone, at some point in our life we have all sat in the seat of the cynical and wonder why it seem that the blessings of God were fallen on everyone else but us. This Sunday (January 31, 2010) the Lord placed a sermon in my heart about that very thing. In studying the story of the Prodigal son I begin to look at the elder son in the story. We find in Luke 15 that there was a celebration going on for his younger brother who had come home. Rather than being happen about the news that his brother had been reunited with the family the elder brother felt as if he had been over looked. After all he had been the one that had been faithful, he had been the one that had work loyally all those years. While his brother was off parting it up and blowing all of his father’s money he was back home making sure that the family business was taken care of. While his younger brother was staying out late and sleeping in, he was getting up before day light and making sure that all the work was completed and making sure that everything was taken care. He was the responsible one, and never gave his father any trouble, but now he couldn’t understand why his father had overlooked him and threw this celebration for his brother. No doubt he felt betrayed, and as if his father thought less of him.
There is no doubt that most all of us can relate to the story of the elder brother. At some point in our lives we have ask why does it seem that the worse prosper while the righteous struggle. No doubt there have been time when we were critical, bitter, and maybe even scornful, but we can’t allow ourselves to stay in that frame of mind. God said I have given you the spirit of praise for the garment of heaviness. The problem that we have is that we do not understand the process of being blessed by God. We have come to believe and in many cases even taught that if we just do the right thing then we will be blessed of God. All we have to do is just sit back and wait for God to do everything for us but is that the truth? Could it be that there is more to being blessed than just doing the right thing?
There is and we find that answer in the father’s response in Luke 15 to the elder son. The father first does not dispute the fact that the son has been the better of the two children. He acknowledges that the son is a faithful and loyal child but those are not the thing that really stuck me. What stuck me is when the father said “you have been with me always, and all that I have is yours”. In other words the father was letting his son know that because of his faithfulness he did not have to wait for the father to kill him a fatted calf but he had the power and the authority to do it on his own. The father was letting him know that everything that he owned was at his disposal and all he had to do was go out and take it for his own.
So many times we are praying and asking God to do something for us that He has already done. All we have to do is receive what God has for us. If we have been faithful then the Bible tells us that “God will not withhold any good thing from us”. Therefore it is already ours and all we have to do is receive it. Healing was provided in the atonement and all we have to do is receive that healing. Anything that we need God is faithful to give it to us and as a faithful child He has given us the authority to receive it unto ourselves. We do not have to beg, we simply have to receive it.
Now at lunch my wife (Linnie) ask me the question that maybe on your mind, How do we receive what we know God has given to us? The answer I have is with a heart of praise and thanksgiving. The Bible says raising our hands in praise is like bringing an offering of thanksgiving to the Lord. When we praise God and we thank God for what He has done then it brings those things that we need to past in our lives. God is a gracious and wonderful God but in order to be blessed we have to do something. We can not depend on God to do everything for us without us putting forth effort. God has blessed us and we have to do all that we can go obtain the blessings that He has given to us.