Loving Fathers and Older Brothers

On night one of the Orange Conference we heard from Reggie Joiner. He was speaking about the parable of the prodigal son and pointed out that you find two different approaches to ministry in this story–one of the loving father and one of the older brother. He then compared and contrasted the two approaches in this way…

Loving Father:
-preoccupied with whoever is missing
-operates from a context of forgiveness
-throws parties
-confronts older brother thinking
-keeps the lights on for as long as it takes

Older Brother:
-preoccupied with themselves
-operates from a context of shame
-throws fits
criticizes loving father thinking
-closes the door and turns off the light

His main point was that Jesus calls the church to be loving fathers not older brothers. As Reggie put it, “We should treat every prodigal in the way a loving father treats his own son.” But the point that stuck with me the most this question…”What if the first person the prodigal son encountered on his way home was the older brother instead of the loving father? How differently would the story have turned out?”

One thought on “Loving Fathers and Older Brothers

  1. It’s easy to come from the “loving father” point of view when we leave the judging of others to God. Is it really necessary for us to judge another man’s heart??? Do we really think that we are better than God at doing His job? Also, if we just worry about being loving, it is lots easier to make an impact in someone’s life. This was an excellent talk and I feel blessed for having gone to the conference. Thanks! Maggie

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