Sometimes I Wish I Were A Prodigal

Okay there it is. I am the “Older Brother.”

I see the kid dragging toward the house,

Dad running out to meet him.

I smell steak cooking on the grill,

See the wallet dump a wad of money for the party.

What? Excuse me...I stayed home, worked my tail off.

Why can’t I be the one who messed up, learned huge lessons in a short time,

Got his head screwed on right, and lived happily ever after?

Sometimes I wish I were a prodigal.

You know, some of the sharpest people were once prodigals.

Moses, Saul of Tarsus, Henry V, Samson.

(Well, I guess Sam doesn’t count because he died without his steak dinner)

I see former divas and stock broker escorts,

Women prodigals, now writing the motherhood and marriage books,

Lavishing the wealth of all their lessons in the conferences.

They make us “Older Brothers” howl at their stories - until I inwardly scream,

What happened to me? Why couldn’t that happen to me?

I wish I were a prodigal.

Now mind you, I have little interest in being famous, infamous, or doing bad things.

My sins, though undramatic, are real enough--

You know, zeal for God while holding tight (like glue) to my money,

Occasional grumbling, some jealousy.

Maybe the rare gossip fest, and a few moments of indiscretion.

If you throw in judgemental pride

And….well, more than a little unforgiveness,

I hang my head and wonder, is there any hope for “Older Brother?”

I wish I were a prodigal, too.

Can I grasp the reality of what Christ did for me

Without experiencing the prodigal’s public... Shame?  

I sure hope so, for I don’t want THAT!

Surely bigger and badder in-your-face wastefulness isn’t

The only way to humility...

...To admitting that I may be worse on the inside than he ever was.

That I hate him being the new good guy,

That he makes me see how nasty I am.

Sometimes I wish I were a Prodigal.