What do good hard-working Christians get? Not so much as a goat!

Being a hard working Christian Disciple is tough in countless ways. And the lives of the Saints reflect this. In the story of the Prodigal son, we often look at the licentious son and celebrate the greatness of the God’s Mercy. Yet when reading the story from the point of view of the good, loyal son, it is hard to see what reward he gets for his lifetime of good deeds and hard work.

Stepping back from the metaphor: what does a loyal, hard-working Disciple receive that a last-minute Prodigal son doesn’t after death? Both get Heaven - so what is the difference?

What was the father’s reply to his elder son’s complaint: “[31] And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’”

There are different levels of heaven, different levels of closeness to God. Sure, all who are saved will be in heaven, but we will be rewarded for our faithfulness in humility. The elder son was faithful but he wasn’t humble enough to accept his father’s mercy towards his brother. That’s the lesson we are to learn from the elder son–humility and forgiveness, not that he got the same as his prodigal brother but had to do more work to get it. :nope:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

We have all sinned, we all deserve hell apart from grace, be careful of asking for justice from God- nobody wants God’s justice, we can only rely on mercy. That older brother was being sinful himself, he worked for his father but begrudgingly, he didn’t realise that all he had was from his father (Lk 15:31)

There is just too much human focus on the negative and suffering. I half ignore many of the typical saints because they create the sentiment here that you have stated.

We look less often on the success and the fact that not everyone is having the life of Job. I would also say that there shouldn’t be too much difficult at being a Christain these days in most places… maybe annoyingish? But difficult? Pffft not really… what do you want to do that you can’t? Sleep around? That is about the only difficult thing…and notice how two hardcore catholics are usually all old and married together? Notice how expensive and horrid divorce is??? So maybe the God version is actually the easy part??

Maybe showing up for mass on sunday is a bit taxing? Loke a whole hour of life ughhhhhh… such a pain… the whole tapping into the love of God thing not too fun :frowning:

You are right sir… I think this christian thing is wayy too hard, I quit!

(Just kidding, life is way more awesome with God) :thumbsup:

He gets to live in the dwelling of his father for that much konger in his earthly life. To draw that much closer to God. To live rightly and truely, doing what is good, out of Love for God.

:thumbsup:

The father in this parable is a stand-in for God. In truth, there is no greater reward than simply being able to be close to God. The loyal son was never away from His father, he never suffered misfortune, he never went hungry or thirsty, he never had to feed the swine. That is his reward, he had the better life of the two sons, he had a greater direct knowledge of his father, and he had the constant reassurance of the father’s love. Remember, the prodigal son was returning not to reclaim his position as a son, but to live the life of a servant. He believed that his father no longer viewed him as his son. That alone underscores the superiority of the loyal son’s life, living in the constant assurance and direct knowledge of his father’s love for him.

Sadly, the loyal son couldn’t see this. All he saw was the father welcoming back the wasteful, sinful, unclean son. His pride got in the way and blinded him to the perpetual gifts he’d received by remaining loyal to his father.

Actually - life gets really, really tough when you don’t use birth control and are a parent of many children whom you are educating to grow up with the same mentality. This is when the cross gets very, very heavy.

That is also the time when it is most important for us to take up our crosses faithfully.

Have you ever eaten goat? Believe me, the older son got a good deal! :smiley:

Okay, I did miss the one item that can be difficult. But you are doing it? A bit tough yes… but by the grace of God you pull it off? I am sure they exist, but of large family good catholics, I have seen none truly destitute. Struggling? Yes, but not too bad off. They lack the mentality that many struggling families have… I see the poor who struggle and have no restraint. No restraint means they get evicted because they need new cell phones and such… I see few good church going families who both struggle financially and struggle with the “poor mentality” One could think a little Holy guidance and steadfastness? Let alone the inevitable rewards from the theological standpoint.

Your kids are probably 10x better in many ways than most these days? And that alone is a blessing beyond all. They may seem a handful to you, but I would not be surprised in the least if they are far better than the average to everyone else.

As someone who is a bit of the prodigal son… try only having 1 kid and getting divorced. I have thrown enough money in the trash to probably support a family of 5 for 4 yrs and I have done so in 7yrs.

Add in if me and my ex werent maintaining 2 homes no tax benifits etc… yeah it’d be easier having a Catholic family of 10 then a secular family of 1.5

The only thing hard about following God is pushing past the scrupulous, hypocritical, and luny people that make you think it is about things it is not, pushing one toward the secular. It looks like a party over here in secular land… but parties are never free…(have you ever thrown a big old party? The $ layout, the cleanup, the guy who broke your window?)

As someone mentioned about the prodigal son story… those who enjoy the benifits of staying home take them for granted and forget the prodigals had to go without.

I sell my goats to Jamaicans, they have me over to eat, they make good goat… it is delicious.

I’m not sure this will make sense or not but… When I quit speeding while driving I didn’t have to look over my shoulder for law enforcement any longer. I also didn’t have to check the speedometer and slow down or look in the rear view mirror to see if they had pulled out and were now going to pull me over. Since I’ve given up drinking alcohol I no longer have to be concerned with hangover headaches, vomiting, (unless I’m sick) urinating my money away foolishly, driving while impaired (yes sometimes I did this) and possibly killing someone or even ending up in prison. Most importantly on this issue I now believe I won’t end up dying the death of an alcoholic like my father and a brother-in-law. I also don’t need to worry about whether I’ll need a new liver like a sister-in-law due to her alcoholism.
Since I’ve quit smoking cigarettes I breathe easier but unfortunately I believe I smoked long enough and hard enough to maybe be on oxygen sometime in the future-maybe I’ll get lucky on this point.
My point is that for me living by the rules is quite liberating. Yes I’ve listed things that have nothing really to do with a spiritual practice but I’m sure with little effort one can see the parallels of following whatever spiritual faith you profess and how liberating that can be.

You will receive real merit, that is heavenly reward, for every good deed that you do. In heaven, not everyone merits the same reward. Saint Jerome, who had a reputation for biting sarcasm, effectively points to the absurdity of the elect in heaven not having a diversity of merit. In his letter Against Jovinian, written in AD 393, he states, “It is our task, according to our different virtues, to prepare for ourselves different rewards…if we were all going to be equal in heaven it would be useless for us to humble ourselves here in order to have a greater place there…why should virgins persevere? Why should widows toil? Why should married women be continent? Let us all sin, and after we repent we shall be the same as the Apostles are!”

You need to keep your thinking in context of the whole New Testament.
Consider this passage…

***Matthew 20:[1] “For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
[2] After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
[3] And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
[4] and to them he said, You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. [5] Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. [6] And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them,Why do you stand here idle all day?’
[7] They said to him, Because no one has hired us.' He said to them,You go into the vineyard too.’
[8] And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' [9] And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. [10] Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. [11] And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, [12] saying,These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
[13] But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
[14] Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
[15] Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
[16] So the last will be first, and the first last.”

And also…
Luke 17:[7[/COLOR]] “Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and sit down at table'? [8] Will he not rather say to him,Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink’?
[9] Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?
[10] So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” ***

I had it while visiting Jamaica - very greasy…all in the preps I guess.

Is this merely a hypothetical complaint or a real one? You seem to be implying that the Church demands couple have as many children as possible. That’s decidedly not true. Couples are to be open to life, not push out as many kids as they can engender. We are to use good prudential judgment in the number and pacing of children according to our circumstances. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to post this simple info on the forum this week, but it seems to be theme of complaint that is disingenuous if the poster knows the truth. The Church recommends Natural Family Planning, which involves catering to a wife’s needs instead of giving the husband carte blanche to have sex whenever he wants it. Marriage is a cooperation between two thinking adults with the capacity for self-control. We are expected to use our brains and the virtue of sacrificial love instead of merely giving into our glands like animals. If couples appropriately control themselves there’s no longer any need to grumble about the results of not doing so.

This is something that gets lost when a lot of people read this story.

The younger son had demanded that the estate be divided, and that he get his share. Under the rules of inheritance, the elder son would have gotten a double portion (2/3) to the younger son’s single portion (1/3). The younger son took his share and spent it all. The older son continued as he had been, not realizing that he was now the owner of the remaining 2/3 of the estate. He could have had a barbecue with his friends any time he wanted. If he didn’t, that was his own fault, as his father gently pointed out.

***"For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them,Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, Because no one has hired us.' He said to them,You go into the vineyard too.’

And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, saying,These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

So the last will be first, and the first last." **

(Matthew 20:1-16)*

The older son would have received the inheritance only when his father died. He did not yet own anything. His father still commanded the servants.

-Tim-

  1. A prince doesn’t yet rule the kingdom, but is no servant.

  2. “Hey Dad, I wanna throw a big party” was probably all the oldest ever had to say.

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