Wednesday, February 16, 2011
God cares for social castoffs.
Jesus compares God to a father who, after waiting day after day at the end of the lane for his disobedient son to return, hugs and kisses him and then throws a party in his honor (Luke 15:11-24).
God is also like a woman who sweeps every crack of her house searching for a lost coin (Luke 15:8)
He can also be compared to a shepherd who trudges over the hill country looking for a weak lamb caught in the thorns (Luke 15:3-5).
Or you can think of Him as a farmer who cared so much about the laborers who only worked an hour that he gave them a full day's wage even when they surely didn't deserve it (Matthew 20:1-16).
Jesus demonstrated this kind of overflowing acceptance when He wines and dines with sinners.
The parables also had a sizzling sting for the religious heavyweights. Your attitude is just the opposite of God's. You are like the elder son who grumbles at the sight of a party thrown for his own brother (Luke 15:25-32).
You are like farmhands who worked all day and then griped after receiving the contracted wage because the latecomers received the same pay (Matthew 20:11-16).
In fact, you are like the tenants of a vineyard who refused to give one of the owner's servants he sent and finally you had the daring audacity to kill his only son (Luke 20:9-16).
Suddenly the tables are turned. The owner will give that vineyard to others. The upside-down theme of eschatalogical reversal permeates other parables. The unexpected happens. The religious leaders forfeit their kingdom card. Sinners have a seat at the party.
-from The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald B. Kraybill