And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
There is another son in the story of the prodigal, another son who perhaps wasn’t as rightly related to his father as he thought he was. No, he hadn’t taken his inheritance and gone off to waste it foolishly. He hadn’t gotten caught up in the sin that his brother had. But perhaps he had the wrong outlook on his relationship with his father. He was focused on what he had done—serving all those years, obeying his father—instead of enjoying a close relationship with him. It wasn’t like a business relationship where he had to earn something from his dad, but he had access to his father and all that he had all along. Somehow he couldn’t see the fellowship and blessings his father was willing to share with him, and maybe all he had to do was ask.
Our relationship with our heavenly Father is about more than just doing a duty. He hasn’t called us to be His children just to get some free labor out of us. He wants to share a close connection with us, and He wants to pour blessings into our lives. He wants us to enjoy being with Him and all that He has for us. He wants us to share our lives with Him, to spend time together, to interact with us in more ways than just telling us what to do.
It was good that this son was obedient. It was good that he worked hard for his father. But perhaps he spent too much time out in the field when his father was looking for him, too. Perhaps he spent too much time trying to earn favor from his father when all he would have had to do was go sit and talk with him for a while. The evident love that his father showered on the lost son had been available to him every day, and it was his own fault for losing out on that.
It is good for us to serve the Lord. It is the right thing to be obedient to Him. But do we ever allow those things at times to interfere in our relationship with the Lord? Are we too focused on always doing the right things that we don’t have time to just sit and chat and enjoy the company of our Father? Are we missing out on the depth of relationship that we could have with Him? It’s up to us how we choose to spend our time. It’s up to us whether we choose to seek Him or not. He loves us and wants us near Him. He will give us good things and many blessings. Maybe we just need to take a step back and see if we’re missing out because we’ve been neglecting Him in some way.