Friday 22 April, 2016

Luke 15:11-32

11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 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. 13 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. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 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. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 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! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father[d] said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

Here we see a dramatic change in attitude in the younger son as the story progresses.

In the beginning this son has a sense of entitlement as he tells his father to give him his share of the estate – the “it’s mine and I deserve it” mentality.

After taking what was given to him and squandering it, the son comes back to his father in a very different state. He is deeply humbled and plans to beg his father for mercy, realising his sinfulness and unworthiness to be called a son.

As a person who grew up from a young age as a Christian, I can recognise this pattern in myself.  In the beginning there was a sense of entitlement to all of the goodness of God the Father because I was a “good girl” and deserved it.

It’s really been a process of revelation over the years that without the goodness and mercy of God in my life, this “good girl” would be out wallowing in the pig pen of life. I do not deserve the blessings of my Father – it is only because of His mercy through Jesus that I have been given them.

For me, this is a reminder of the deceptive nature and the ugliness of pride that regularly wants to worm it’s way into my heart and make me feel like I am entitled. It is also an opportunity to remember what I have to be grateful for in the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.

Written by Shelley Witt

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