Nearly every Christian is familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15. However, many do not realize that Jesus’ parable actually involved two lost sons; though only one left home, they both left the Father. I believe, too often we spend so much time on the rich lessons derived from the wayward son, that we can lose sight of the powerful points gained from the life of the elder son. His story is told in verses 25-32.
Sadly, I have seen dozens of “elder sons” in church over the years. I believe their sin is so much more insidious than that of the prodigal. I call it ElderSonitis.
It develops like a slow growing infection. Sometimes it takes years to form and its symptoms can be easily masked. The infection can be transmitted from person to person almost unnoticed. Once it takes hold, the person infected usually isn’t even aware of its presence and, if left untreated, it has a 100% mortality rate on the victim’s spiritual condition.
So, how can you tell if you are developing ElderSonitis?
Below I have listed the most common symptoms of this hideous disease. If you are exhibiting one or more of these, please get help IMMEDIATELY!
1. I no longer invite anyone to church.
2. When I do come to church, I find it easier to see what’s wrong than what’s right.
3. Baptisms don’t really do anything for me.
4. I don’t sing along with the songs. In fact, I don’t even like the music. I wish they would play _______.
5. I either give nothing or I give begrudgingly.
6. When a new believer comes to Christ, my first thought is, “We’ll see.”
7. I feel resentful towards new people coming into the church. They should earn their stripes.
8. I feel like we waste a lot of money around here. We could save a lot if we weren’t always doing new things.
9. I feel the church puts too much emphasis on outreach and not enough on inreach. We need to take care of our own before we try reaching more.
10. I feel unappreciated for all my volunteer work. Don’t these people realize how much I do around here?
11. I don’t think the leadership has enough accountability. Two words: shorter leash.
12. I’m tired of hearing about my next step.
13. I’m not being fed. We need some deep preaching in this place.
What would you add to this list?