Main texts are: Luke 15:13-16, 2 Corinthians 7:8-13, Joel 2:12-17
Our text for this sermon starts in Luke 15:14:
After (the Younger Son) had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.What would you call this? It is a tragedy. It is a tragedy in anyone’s language. He had taken a chunk of his Father’s Estate, considering him dead. He has taken a piece of his Father’s heart, and he gambled it on a fantasy. Poverty is always a tragedy. But self-imposed poverty perhaps more so.
The fantasy came crashing down in the perfect storm of irresponsibility and circumstance.
He had spent everything (That’s irresponsible) and then there was a sever famine (That’s circumstance). That sounds like a description of our current economic crisis, don’t you think?
This story is particularly a tragedy in a Jewish culture: He hired himself out to a ‘citizen of that country’. In other words, a Gentile. That is tragic for a Jew. And that Gentile made him work with pigs. This probably makes that Gentile an anti-Semite. Very Tragic for a Jew.
Every Jew listening to this story would have been wincing. And judging.
Next verse: V17
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!What is happening here? It is a sea of regrets. Like Job who sat in the ashes of suffering, this son sat in the pigsty of regrets. It is a strange place to live in a pigsty. And stranger still how hard it is to get out of one.
Today, I want to ask the question: What are the Limits of Regret? And then a further question: What are the possibilities afforded by regret?
First, what are the Limits of Regret? There are at least three limits I can think of:
- A. Regret alone can be faked.
- B. Regret alone can be self indulgent.
- C. Regret alone can lead to your death.
Pic on Flickr by jpwbee.