And he said to him, Son, you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours.
The "elder brother" is by no means so unpopular out of the parable as he is in it. As he is seen in the picture every one is ready to throw a stone at him. In actual life there are many Christian people who pay him the high compliment of a very close imitation. We are in danger of setting up a certain type of Christian character as a model, and if one of our neighbours should show any serious departure from that type, we are disposed to be shy of him and to shun him. Is the returned penitent whom Christ has received into his love always cordially welcomed into our society and made to feel at home with us? But let us look at this young man as -
I. A TYPE OF THE UNGRATEFUL RECIPIENTS OF THE CONSTANT KINDNESS OF GOD. He complained of his father's partiality in that for his brother there had been killed a fatted calf, while not even a kid had been slain for himself and his friends. But the reply was that, without any intermission, he had been enjoying the comfort of the parental hearth and the bounty of the parental table; that one extraordinary feast granted to his brother was nothing in comparison with the constant and continued manifestations of fatherly love and care he had been receiving day by day for many years. "Thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." It is for us to remember that our Divine Father's continual loving-kindnesses are much more valuable than one interposition on our behalf. A miracle is a much more brilliant and imposing thing than an ordinary gift, but one miracle is not such evidence of fatherly love as we have in an innumerable series of daily and hourly blessings. A greater gift than the manna in the wilderness were the annual harvests which fed many generations of the people of God. A more valuable gift than the water that issued from the rock in the desert were the rains, the streams, and the rivers that fertilized the soil from year to year. Kinder than the providential rescue from threatening embarrassment or impending death is the goodness which preserves in peaceful competence and unbroken health through long periods of human life. It is a sad and serious mistake; it is indeed more and worse than a mistake when we allow the very constancy of God's kindness, the very regularity of his gifts, to hide from our hearts the fact that he is blessing us in largest measure and in fullest parental love. He is saying to us the while, "Children, ye are ever with me, and all that I have is yours."
II. A TYPE OF OUR COMMON SONSHIP. In the parable the father says to his son, "My property is thine - thine to use and to enjoy; there is nothing I have made that is within your view and your reach which you are not free to partake of and employ; all that I have is thine." Is not that our goodly estate as the sons of God? This world is God's property, and he shares it with us. He interdicts, indeed, that which would do us harm or do injury to others. Otherwise he says to us, "Take and partake, enrich your hearts with all that is before you."
1. And this applies not only to all material gifts, but to all spiritual good - to knowledge, wisdom, truth, love, goodness; to those great spiritual qualities which are the best and most precious of the Divine possessions.
2. It has also a far-reaching application, it is a promise as well as a declaration. Of" all that God has" we only see and touch a very small part now and here. Soon and yonder we shall know far more of what is included in his glorious estate, and still and ever will it be true that what is his is ours; for he lives to share with his children the blessedness and the bounty of his heavenly home. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.