March 31

Luke 15:18-32

“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.’” vs. 29

Sinners, wandering sons and daughters, people eating with pigs…all love Jesus’ story of the waiting, loving, ever-merciful father. They rightly understand it to be a picture of our gracious God and relish the promise of being included in the singing and dancing that is at the core of kingdom living. Sadly it’s the righteous folks, the Pharisees and scribes, people who have always walked the straight and narrow, who are offended. That’s the way it is with the privileged…they just don’t like it when the so-called “undeserving” are included in the distribution of our society’s goodies. So many of us fall into that category. We’ve reaped the benefits of following the rules and have lapped up riches our system provides, and it galls us to see folks who’ve squandered their livelihood being rewarded with gold rings, fine clothes, and government benefits. Of course it’s easy to understand such feelings. From the righteous side of the equation it really is a struggle to have empathy for those who we think have lived carelessly. What a blessing it is when we can recognize that all of us are beggars and decide to come in and join the party!

Thought for the Day: What keeps me from rejoicing when the undeserving prosper?

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