Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love
Grace Longer Table Pie Slices

Prodigal Grace

  1. Of Toddlers & Sharing
    1. Have you ever watched toddlers sharing what they have with other kids
  2. We Misunderstand the Infinite Nature of God’s Love
    1. Both of our Readings today, from Jonah & Matthew reveal this.
      1. Old Testament God vs. New Testament God
      2. That Crimson Thread of God’s Love throughout Scripture
    2. Jonah, a Jew, struggles with God’s favor being given to the Ninevites.
      1. Jonah was a Jew; God’s chosen people
      2. The Ninevites (Assyrians) were really nasty people
    3. The laborers in the field, hired first, struggle with the landowner’s wages being given to those who started work at the end of the day.
      1. Watching the others getting paid, the first expected unpromised preferential special treatment – to be paid MORE than promised.
      2. The order that the laborer’s are paid reveals something significant.
  3. Seeing God’s Love as Finite/Limited, We Are Selfish
    1. Like Jonah, seeing ourselves as chosen recipients of Grace & Mercy, our natural posture is to withhold that grace/mercy from the unworthy
    2. Like the first hired laborers, we consider our position one of privilege, & actually get angry when we see God’s grace/mercy shared w/others
    3. Jonah was angry w/God because he didn’t want God to show mercy to “those people”. He fled in the first place because he knew God would.
    4. Sometimes we, in the church, can behave the same – we get angry & selfish when we see God sharing grace & mercy with “those people”.
    5. In the face of infinite love we set up restricted personal storehouses!
  4. Thankfully, God is Not Stingy with Love, Grace & Mercy
    1. God is like the Prodigal Father in the Parable of the Two Lost Sons
    2. God is like the king who forgives one of his servants a huge debt
    3. God is Consistent through Scripture: Jonah shows us that we don’t have a dualistic Old Testament vs. New Testament God
    4. God’s love, grace, & mercy are infinite wells that will never run dry.
      1. Don’t think of a pizza or a pie cut into ever shrinking pieces.
      2. Think of the vastness of space ladled out; it’s endless. Want more?
  5. Let’s not be so absurd as to Ration the Infinite Love
    1. When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a wall
    2. When manna falls from the heavens in abundance, take what you need
    3. When you have been chosen, don’t flee from the opportunity to share
    4. When you’re hired first, be grateful that others could still be hired later
    5. When you find the care we need, don’t restrict others from it too.
    6. When you have been forgiven, be quick to forgive others – be freed.
    7. When you have found a place of refuge, be quick to invite others in.
    8. When you have been shown your place at the table, show others theirs
  6. Let’s not be so absurd as to stingily ration the cosmos
    1. Let us be assured of God’s infinitely vast love for us.
    2. Let us be assured of God’s consistently faithful history of giving it to us.
    3. Let us be assured we can live lives of generous prodigal belovedness!

 

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