Monday, March 18

Monday, March 18   

Scripture: Luke 15:13-16

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

Some thoughts:

     Welcome to the world of “self” son! Should we be surprised that no one gave him anything? Look with whom he was spending his time and money. This was not generally a community that is known for giving or caring about others. No, this was a crowd of self-focused takers. It became particularly evident to the prodigal when everything headed south. Friends of this caliber and character bail as soon as another’s money runs out. The same thing happens today with people and corporations who have “squandered their wealth on wild living.” How many heirs of fortunes, “lottery winners,” and professional athletes are dead broke after a few years of squandering great wealth?

     A kind of severe famine has likewise arisen in the prodigal’s country. Have you ever noticed how often a bad decision escalates into even more disasters? A bad tree can’t produce good fruit (Matt 7:18). But as is sometimes the case, here we see the seeds of humility being planted in the son’s soil of desperation. The seeds sprouted as starvation brought a dose of reality and he decided to look for work. Imagine, . . . work! He got a job feeding pigs. Think about the parable Jesus is telling. Pigs were unclean to the Jews. The son’s job was the lowest of the low. He was on a Jewish skid row. He was eating the same pods as unclean animals! (These were not snow pea pods from P.F. Chang’s!) His loneliness was so overwhelming it spurred him to action. This whole parable centers on a wayward heart which had to make it all the way to the bottom and finally being so alone broke the self. The prodigal finally had enough of, no, was sick of himself and decided to act.

     Look for people in your life today who may be in the son’s situation and extend a hand in whatever form to bring encouragement and hope. It’s not time to judge, but time to love and encourage. The prodigal didn’t need to be told he had played the fool. He needed to be forgiven. Don’t be the “no one gave him anything” person. God may use you to play the prodigal’s father in another’s life today. Or perchance you may be that prodigal person. If that is the case, go back home. Ask forgiveness. You won’t be disappointed at the response. 

Music: “Father of My Heart” Fernando Ortega

Prayer: Lord, I am blind and helpless, stupid, and ignorant. Cause me to hear, cause me to know teach me to do, lead me.         —Henry Martyn, 1781-1812