Luke 15: 11 – 32
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
While people popularly refer to the son as the prodigal son (lavish and wasteful), I prefer to think of the Father as prodigal, for not only did he break with tradition and give his younger son half of the inheritance (usually the eldest got it all) but when he returned he treated him with lavish generosity. Our Abba is the original prodigal father as he has lavishly given his servant, his chosen son, to suffer for us that all his chosen children who turn back to him might be reunited with him and not separated from him by their mistakes and misdeeds. Abba, grant that we might awake to the prodigal nature of your love lavished on each one of us, not because we deserve it but simply because you love us and are calling us into the fullness of who you created us to be. We surrender to your Holy Spirit and to your purposes for our lives, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Noon Day Prayers Question
Oh One in whom we live and move and have our being. Oh One whose presence we could not escape no matter how hard we try. Oh One who calls each and every one of us your precious child. Oh One, please forgive us for being so heedless of your boundless sustaining love, holding us no matter how oblivious we are of your loving presence.
What would it be like to wake up to your presence as our reality every minute of every day?
Luke 16: 1 – 18
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg – I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus was not anti-money but rather wanted people to be wise with the resources they were given for the extension of the kingdom. He had no problem with being shrewd in the world’s ways when it came to using money for good ends. What he warned against was valuing money as much as you value your relationship with God. It is for this reason that God “detests” our idolatries such as riches, success and social esteem. For the more we feel like we have made it, the farther we are from a right relationship with God.
This is why Jesus exemplified and taught humility, for in comparison to our Abba we can only be grateful and humble. If money is too important, your relationship with God suffers. Remember in the end money, success and high standing not only cannot save us but they are not reliable and they can always disappear. Those walking with God have everything they need now and hereafter.
Having Abba as your intimate parent and guide is surely more valuable than anything the world can offer, is it not it? How is it with you?