Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prodigal Son or Good Samaritan? Or both?

What does it mean to live simply? What does it mean to follow Jesus and to be a disciple? There are many stories and commands found in scripture that point us toward a better way of living - a way that is both demanding and rewarding.

Lately, however, I have realized that in the midst of my zealous efforts to be a good Samaritan or to live the Kingdom of God, I have forgotten what it means to be a prodigal son.

Actually, I'm not sure I really know what it means to be a prodigal son, I'm still working on it.

There's a lot of talk in Christian communities of living simply, and that is good. But is simple living only material? Or is it also a mental state? And also a state of faith and trust?

In the effort to live simply should we be stressed and constantly anxious? What if our intentions are good but we subconsciously start seeing the world as a pessimistically half-empty glass? Is this living simply?

What happens when our zeal to be "new creations" gets twisted into becoming judgmental and critical of others? Aren't we all prodigal sons and daughters? I think so. And I think this should always be in the forefront of our minds as we try to live as followers of our Lord.

It's easy to spend every second of my life trying to be the good samaritan while forgetting that before that I am the prodigal son. I am both servant and son.

It certainly is not an either/or relationship (either you are the prodigal son or the good samaritan). It is a both/and relationship. But I think it is often to forget that no matter how many neighbors you pick up on the side of the road, you're still the prodigal son.

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