A few thoughts that were shared tonight:
- In the beginning, the younger son was very greedy. But not only that, he wanted what was "owed to him" in the form of his inheritance, something only received after the father would have passed. So not only does he say give me what I am "owed", he could be alluding to the fact that his father/family is now dead to him. This only heightens his distancing himself from his father in his belief that he can live life "his way".
- What do we throw away to pursue what we want or think we need?
- After squandering his inheritance on things he *thinks* will bring him fulfillment, he resorts to thinking"And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him". He is so desperate for something to fill him that he would eat pig slop.
- Are we ever so desperate that we resort to "pig slop" to fill our needs and desires?
- One, God doesn't love us because we try to be perfect. We are able to strive towards holiness because God loves us unconditionally
- Two, We are not the judges of who is deserving of what. We need to take a reality check and humble ourselves.
- Three, does our pursuit of the "good" keep us from pursuing the "best" or the "greatest"? The older son was so concerned with playing by the roles, or doing what was good, that he forgot that the greater good was loving his brother and welcoming him home.
I think that last point is an interesting one. How often do we concern ourselves with things that aren't bad, that may be good, but that keep us from the greatest good? It isn't bad to spend time with friends or family, but if that time spent interferes with our ability to seek God, is the good getting in the way of a greater good? I feel like this is a hard question to answer, especially for the person who feels like they are doing the right thing and "deserves" the splendors that the younger son receives. But we don't deserve anything because of what we do or don't do. We deserve the gifts of the Father because of who HE is, not because of who we are.