13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
(Gerard Van Honthorst 1650s) (Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1660s)
Thoughts: How many in our culture have wasted their lives, their futures and their fortunes in self-indulgence. The debt crisis in our culture shows us how we have lived beyond our means- like the prodigal. Many are recognizing that their debt affects the welfare of others. If someone's house is foreclosed on down the street, it affects the ability to sell your own- even if you have been careful. So the father and eldest son are hurt by the rebellion of the prodigal son. The Christian ideal is self-denial not self-indulgence. Jesus set that example and also said "If anyone wants to come after me let them deny themselves" (Lk. 9:23). Americans have had a great moral and spiritual inheritance, but we squander it away in self- indulgence. Let us keep the faith, keep close to the Father, and deny ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, show me how I am indulging in my ways, and help me to straighten into your way.
John Calvin abridged: Christ describes a tendency among the young to be carried away and maddened by their passion and unrestrained by fear and shame. He then describes the consequences to spendthrifts and prodigals. They are not moderate in eating the best bread and are reduced to eating acorns and husks. They become the companions of pigs and made to feel unworthy of human food and comforts. No one pitied his poverty because those who throw away their property are not likely to be relieved or helped.