“Give me my share . . .”
Scripture: Luke 15: 11-12
(Jesus had just told the parable to the Pharisees about the lost coin.)
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
We live in an era of a new trinity. This one is not mysterious in the least! It is easily understood by even the smallest child. It is the trinity of “I, me, and myself.” There is actually a pop song entitled “It’s All About Me!” Those four little, simple, short words speak volumes. The season of Lent is about helping us to recognize how often that idea slips into and shapes our lives. We live in a society, and indeed in our own lives, where we are very aware of our “rights.” Look at all the lawsuits and the encouragement to sue in television commercials. “Have you been injured in an accident? Call: 888-LAW-CALL.” Law offices proudly tout how much of a settlement they got for their clients. We live in a litigious society. Where did we get this idea of my rights? And how far do my rights extend? In this parable, the son was a rightful heir, albeit an impatient, immature, self-centered, short-sighted one! He used another version of the personal trinity and four words. Give me my share! I’m embarrassed for him. But notice the Father did not reprimand him, humiliate, nor dishonor him in his foolish demand. I’m not sure I would have been that gracious. He granted the demand, knowing full well the consequences of this ludicrous request. There are certainly times when our heavenly Father does the same for us. He does not impose his will or force us in any direction. The father here likewise does not override the son’s stupidity and immaturity. Can you imagine a love like this so honoring and strong? There is no “thy will be done” in this son’s demand! This son gained nothing from his father’s wisdom. He didn’t ask. He didn’t reflect. He didn’t wait. In effect he said, “Father, I wish you were dead so I can get my inheritance. Come to think of it, I don’t want to wait for you to die, so I want it now. See ya.” Are we ever like this son with our Father in heaven? As you pray today, be careful of what you ask for. In God’s gracious way, he may give it to you!
Music: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
Prayer: O God our Father, help us to nail to the cross of thy dear Son the whole body of our death, the wrong desires of the heart, the sinful devising of the mind, the corrupt apprehensions of the eyes, the cruel words of the tongue, the ill employment of hands and feet; that the old man [in us] being crucified and done away, the new man may live and grow into the glorious likeness thy Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
-Eric Milner-White, 1884-1964