Archive for August 11th, 2008

Extravagant Love Is My Responsibility

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 15:11-32 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

On Thursday we looked at this parable from the perspective of the Lost Son, and yesterday we looked at the image of God as the loving and forgiving Father. Usually, this parable is known to Western audiences as the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” but when I lived in Korea I was surprised to hear it called the “Parable of the Elder Brother.” That’s who we’ll look at today.

The first thing to notice about the elder brother is that his anger is justified from his perspective. Once the property is divided at the beginning of the story, the father begins living in the elder brother’s house. The clothes and ring he gives the lost son, and the calf he roasts are really the elder brother’s property — his rightful inheritance!

But it’s worse than that. Not only is the elder brother expected to give up his property for the sake of his deadbeat brother, he’s expected to smile and embrace him, too. In a society where the elder brother is the most important member of the family, this is going too far!

So, what does this tell us about how God treats us and expects us to treat each other? It’s not just that God is our loving and forgiving Father. God also expects us to be loving and forgiving. When God gives good gifts to the lost, it’s our money that God uses. When God hugs and comforts the brother or sister who has squandered everything and deserves no more chances, it’s our arms that God uses to do the hugging.

Thought for the day: We’re expected to love as extravagantly as our Father in heaven — even when our love is undeserved, or when our anger is justified.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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