(This is the first in a short series based on the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. It’s written from the perspective of the elder brother, who we don’t hear about until the end, but who probably had other things he wanted to say …)
You’ll never believe what my little brother has just done! It started about a couple of weeks ago. We’d been out all day in the fields as usual, and we had just sat down for our evening meal. Suddenly, right out of the blue, he says, “Father – could I have my share of the property now?” Just like that! I mean, what’s he saying – “I’m tired of waiting for you to die”?
Naturally, Dad was pretty shocked. For a few minutes he didn’t say anything at all. Then he turned to my brother with a strange look on his face and said, “Are you sure that’s what you really want?” My brother said, yes, that was what he really wanted; he said it was time for him to make something of his life for himself, and not be under Dad’s thumb all the time.
The next few days were full of comings and goings; we didn’t know where we were. We had surveyors in to check over all the property, and measure the boundaries; we had to count all the sheep and cattle; and then Dad spent a day with the lawyer. Finally, it was all settled, and Dad had all the legal documents transferring a third of everything to my brother. At this, he looked a bit disappointed – I think he’d forgotten that the eldest son inherits twice as much as any others, and he was expecting half.
I don’t know what Dad thought his greedy son was going to do with the property, but I had my suspicions. He’s never struck me as the entrepreneurial type; in fact, he’s always been afraid of hard work – the number of times I’ve had to cover for him and finish of his work as well as my own. No, he wasn’t going to go into business for himself, that’s for sure! And I was right; a few days later he came strolling into the house with a big smile on his face and a big bag of money in his hand. “I’ve sold my land,” he said – his land! – “to this chap I met in the pub; he wants to build something called a ‘theme park’, whatever that is.”
And that was it. That was yesterday; this morning he packed his bags and off he went, hardly stopping even to say good-bye. You should have seen the look on Dad’s face, but my brother didn’t care. We don’t know where he’s disappeared to; nobody round here knows where he is, and someone says they saw him getting on a bus out of town. If you ask me, we’ll never see him again – and to be honest, I think it’s ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’.
Dad’s still pretty upset, though, even though I keep telling him just what a toerag my brother is, and how lucky he is to have at least one honest, hard-working son who looks up to him.
All the best.
(Based on Luke 15:11-13a)