Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Else Is There To Do?

It's snowing again.
If you live in my corner of the world, you don't need me to point this out. I'm merely mentioning it for future reference. You know, in case a year from now I check back to see what I did during the first week of January. And what I did was complain. All this mhhpming snow. It just keeps dropping.

When was the last time I saw my front lawn? Three weeks ago maybe?

I am trying. I really am. I am looking for the silver lining in this weather:
1. No dog is pooping in my backyard. (Which in a way, is too bad. Because if it did, we could follow the pawprints and let his owner know.)
2. I stay home more. If the days were warmer and longer, I'd be out. Coffee with friends. Movie nights. Photography walks. But because I'm staying at home, I putter and clean. Read. Learn to enjoy my own company again.
3. Maybe God invented winter because some of us need fallow seasons. Seasons where the pace of life slows down. Seasons where we are not expected to bloom and flower and grow and be all colourful. Seasons where it's OK (even encouraged) to hibernate.

Three is enough.

So, on this last-day-of-Christmas-break, I gave my truck to Clint again and settled in for another day at home. I've got a scratchy sore throat and itchy eyes and really? Where would I go?
I read this:

Clint's boss/pastor borrowed it to him. So I knew it would be worth taking a look at. It was.
Want to know what it's about?
First of all, "prodigal" does NOT mean wayward. Interesssssting, eh?
Prodigal means;
1. recklessly extravagant
2. having spent everything
So... the younger brother who went away was prodigal, NOT because he left, but because he was recklessly extravagant and spent everything.
Annnndddd - God is prodigal because He is recklessly extravagant with His grace. He spent everything to woo us to Him.
Annnndddd - this parable is not about "the prodigal son" - it's about "TWO lost sons" - because in Keller's mind, both sons are lost. The younger one is lost in that traditional tax collector and prostitute way of being lost. And the elder brother is lost in that self-righteous pride-filled Pharisee way.
Here are a few zingers that zapped me because I am like that elder bro. No really. I am. He followed the rules. Did those things that were expected of him. Was whiny about fairness. How awful. No really, HOW AWFUL.
- " When we see the attitude of the elder brother in the story, we begin to realize one of the reasons the younger brother wanted to leave in the first place."
Have those in my family who have walked away from the Lord done so because of my attitude?
Don't think this hasn't crossed my mind before. Because it surely has. Ten years ago was the first time. And again last year.
It's hard to live with an "elder brother". It's enough to make you chuck your faith and walk away from the life you have with your family.
Is my joy in the Lord infectious? Do people want "what I have"? Do they see Jesus in me? How many people have come to know the Lord because of me? How many people have run away from Him because of me?
- "Pride in his good deeds rather than remorse over his bad deeds was keeping the older son out of the feast (of salvation)"
- "The inevitable sign that you know you are a sinner saved by grace is a sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of service to the poor."
- "Younger-brother-types are too selfish and Elder-brother-types are too self-righteous to care for the poor."
- "In order to grow in Christ, you must keep telling yourself how graciously loved and accepted you are."
- "If we say, "I believe in Jesus", but it doesn't affect the way we live, the answer is not that we need to add hard work to our faith so much as that we haven't truly understood or believed Jesus at all."
Stuff to think about on this snowy night.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Colds only last a week. By this time next week I'll feel better.
2. Books that challenge and motivate me.
3. The pillows on my bed.

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