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June 16 | Luke 15:11-24


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION

 

Lost and Found

by Elaine Pierce


As I read today's passage, a very familiar one to be sure, I found myself reflecting on verse 11, particularly on the younger son's request to his father: "Father, give me my share of the estate." In Jesus' day, and in our day, it is unusual for a child to request their inheritance from a parent before the parent has died. In fact, it seems downright - presumptuous - doesn't it? Maybe even rude? Why on earth did this younger son demand his inheritance before its time? What made him think this was a good idea? As we find out as we read the passage, it didn't work out well for him, and after he quickly ran through all his money, he found himself reduced to feeding pigs (which would have been an abomination for a faithful Jew).


We all know how kindly, how graciously, how lovingly, his father responded when he came home and begged his father's forgiveness (see verse 21). Even before he had a chance to ask for mercy, his father "was filled with compassion, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." (v. 21)


Today we're not going to look at the older brother's role in all of this—you can read about him in verses 25-31. So let's think about this bratty younger brother, who focused on short-term pleasure, found out it was hollow and empty, returned home with a plan to work his way back into the father's good graces, and was met with joy, forgiveness, and a huge party complete with the best food and wine.


We can't out-give God, can we? We make mistakes, just like the younger brother (and the older brother). We ask for what isn't ours, and we waste time, energy and money on things that don't matter. When we come to our senses (and Lord willing, we will), the Father is filled with compassion, and he greets us with love, with mercy, and with forgiveness. You may not have done something as egregious as this young man, but we all fall short. And God's plan does not include works for the sake of earning our keep. No, we do good works because we love him, and that is our response to what he has done for us.


Thanks be to God that our Father is a good God, and he loves us not for our good works, but because we are made in his image and he calls us his son and daughters.

 

PRAYER

Lord, so often I want to do things my way, and I fail to ask you to guide me and lead me. Thank you for watching for me, for welcoming me, for loving me. Help me each day to live a life that reflects your love, your grace and your mercy. Amen.




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