Confession: This is how I have responded most often to the story of the account of the sons in Luke 15:11-32. On the surface I would say the I understand that I have my moments of similarity to the younger son. (Before I would have called him the "Prodigal" as I looked down my nose at him through my rimmed glasses.) But underneath I sympathize for the elder. This passage has been the target Scripture of many a service from which I have gleaned. I have heard that when the younger son asked for his share, it was as if he were wishing the father were dead. (After several years hanging out with students, it could be argued that this is just a phase of the teen years:)
Before I go any further, I want to state that although I am gaining insight into this passage through my experience with my children that I in no way associate either of my sons to a particular son in the passage. They, like me, have their older and younger son moments.
Currently my own boys are in a phase that totally highlights this point as if it is a movie acted out before me. One will ask for anything and everything, partly due to our relationship lately but mostly his view himself and me, his confidence in both him to ask and in me provide what he wants. The other completely talks himself out of asking for something that is perfectly legitimate and that as the parent I would love to provide. This has a little to do with how our relationship has been of late but also mostly how he envisions himself and me. He doubts himself, whether he is deserving or he doubts my ability to deliver. I wonder what the relationship between the father and the younger son was like when he asked. I have usually thought it to be strained and stressed, but as I read it now I see that it could have been just the opposite. The younger felt comfortable enough to come to his father with such a question and his father did not seem to hesitate to deliver. The older did not even feel at ease enough to ask for a young goat for a party. Did the younger son plan to squander it all or was ownership of it just too much for him to handle?
So I question, "does God, my Father and author of this illustration want me to strictly dwell on the behavior of these two sons? Is there something deeper, a heart issue, a relational connection that He wants from me that is not like either of them?" Have I mistaken the asking for the wedge? My personality is to not ask, to assume that I should handle it myself. I do this with David for material things and for assistance; I do this with friends for help in life; I have done this in the workplace. My spiritual leaning is to not ask; to withhold my desire because I feel I have not earned and do not deserve. I often equate this with thankfulness; He has done so much for me I feel I should not waste anymore of His time. Even as I write that sentence I sense Him smiling on me and my 'dirt for brains' as He unfolds His desire before me to clarify. He has ALL the time so He can afford to "waste it". ;) He is big and robust enough to listen to any request I present. He may require I take a "No." But even in that there will be the relating that He truly wants for me. As the father says to the older son in Luke, "Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours." the words "with me" echo off the page. So much of His heartbeat drums about being 'with Him' throughout Scripture.