Thursday, November 19th Luke 15:1-3, 11-19

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”‘ Luke 15:1-3, 11-19

Sometimes stories become too well known. They become so familiar that, when we hear them again, our ears are waiting for the next move in the plot or the next familiar phrase, and we miss the scandal. The shock value is lost. The story remains beloved but we remain largely unmoved.

The Christmas story is like that. We might love Ricky Bobby’s little baby infant Jesus but we hardly notice the scandal of the unmarried parents, the outsiders who find no room at home, or the smell of the shepherds.

The story of the prodigal son is like that. We know it so well that it doesn’t shock us anymore. It doesn’t surprise us anymore. We can read it and hardly notice that this younger son is basically telling his father that he wishes he was dead so he could get his share of his inheritance.

Even people with deep resentments toward a little brother or sister or some other relative that is milking gullible parents or grandparents of their money and possessions to feed a drug habit could read this story again and not notice the connection.

The story doesn’t tell us any details around “dissolute” living – and we read through it so quickly that we seldom slow down enough to let our imaginations go to work. But whatever “dissolute” living means, we can rest assured that it had nothing to do with anything that might be approved by respectable people.

Even feeding the pigs misses the point for us. There is a part of us that doesn’t think that is so bad at all…”at least he found a job”…”Why don’t you just go down to Walmart or McDonald’s, they’re always hiring”… We miss the scandal of a privileged Jewish boy working for a skinflint Gentile pig farmer who sticks him straight in the sty and leaves him there.

BUT…if we DO slow down…

And we look back at our lives. And we look at every dark deed that still haunts us, every foolish choice that we made, all the wasteful excesses that we have accumulated and lost along the way. When we look at anything in our lives that causes us shame and guilt and makes us want to hide, THEN the story takes us where it intends us to go.

To that rock bottom point where the pain of going home finally becomes less painful than the pain of running away. To the place of repentance.

Tomorrow we’ll hear the rest of the story.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, when we realize the depth of our sin, we want to hide. When we fear getting caught we want to run. And when we finally realize what we have done and realize that there is no where else to go but home, we pray that you stir up our hearts so that we can turn our feet in the direction they need to go. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


4 Responses to “Thursday, November 19th Luke 15:1-3, 11-19”

  1. LC Says:

    As the mother of a prodigal son I live with all the guilt you mentioned. I am constantly looking back and know I must have made foolish choices. This story always give me hope, however. He just may return.
    Thank you Pastor, great devotion, looking forward to the rest of the story tomorrow.

  2. GLC Says:

    I WAS the prodigal daughter..and I cannot tell you the gratitude in my heart for the forgiveness that Jesus taught my parents and siblings! More so the absolute grace of giving us his blood in payment of our sins!!!!!

  3. Catherine Says:

    Dear Father,

    My Sister and myself have not being receiving the Daily Devotions mail for the last two days. We are eagerly awaiting the same. Our email Ids are as follows – and

    Catherine Fernandes.

  4. Tina Peterson Says:

    “To that rock bottom point where the pain of going home finally becomes less painful than the pain of running away. To the place of repentance.”

    Very poetical. I am very moved by this story once again. That place of repentance is one place in this world that showcases hope like no other.

    Thank you.

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