As we travel through Lent, I find it interesting that Luke shares three parables about lostness that Jesus gave responding to the tax collectors and teachers of the law who were muttering about who Jesus associated with. All point us to the cross. Monday we looked at a lost sheep sought out by the shepherd. Tuesday we looked at a lost coin sought for by a distraught woman. Today the parable ramps up the intensity to make a point about the kingdom of God. A father has two sons. The younger claims his inheritance early and the elder stays and dutifully serves his father. In the parable, both sons are having trouble with their “father figure.”
In fact, this is the text for Sunday worship so I do not want to give away too much but just enough to wet your appetite for Sunday. We would think that the older, obedient son is the model and the frivolous younger son is the delinquent. We would think that God cherishes his existing church more than spending time with sinners. In fact though, both sons are struggling with burdens that bring them to the cross and the need to seek forgiveness.
To wet our appetites I am going to offer Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. We know it well. The two animals race and we would think the hare should win but he doesn’t. Both the hare and the tortoise are slowed down in the race. The outcome is a surprise even as Luke tells us that we will be surprised whom we will meet in heaven.
So let us ponder what weighed down the younger son, the older son and what weighs us down and slows down our relationship with God. So many excuses we know and hear all the time. I’m tired on Sunday morning from working so hard and need to take a nap like the hare. Or perhaps we have too many things to do and just cannot get them done fast enough to have time to meet with God. We are slow like the tortoise. What slows down your roll with God? Be honest! The father cares about and reaches out to both sons. God wants all to come to salvation. Lent challenges us to refresh, renew, and revive our relationship with a God who journeys to the cross for us. Blessings.
Lenten Challenge for your charity jar for after Easter: “A woman in the Philippines began her own sewing business thanks to a small loan from Lutheran World Relief. Give 5 cents for every shirt your family owns.”