The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an illustration of God’s long-suffering nature. He gives sinners a long rope upon which some hang themselves while some, like the younger son in the parable came to realize, just the right time to find way home. Consider God as the father and here we are talking of a share the son could claim as his. God allows his material blessings for each according to his ability. The same we find while God distributed manna from His storehouse. ‘…every man according to his eating (Ex.16:18).’ Compare this with the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus(Lk.16:19-31) and we shall see what is the significance of material wealth.
Wealth is a blessing indeed. But without God such blessings can turn contrary. The son realized without the Father his lot was suddenly thrown into misery. The younger son having to satisfy with hunger with husks is one of the most pathetic scenes one could conjure up! But God in mercy uses it to open his eyes. What did it bring to mind? “He remembered of his patiently awaiting father and decided that it was to his parental solicitude he ought to appeal. Yes he had made a dent in the material wealth created by his sire. But love that overlooked all faults of the son was yet untried. The parable reveals the son was warmly received by the father. He puts on the best robe on the son who came back from the dead. His righteousness is what God the Father offers to every sinner who repents.
Not so lucky was the dives who wined and dined on a grand scale never minding the sign of God had set right at the gate. Lazarus was indeed a sign for the dives as the husks of grain were for the boy.
Wealth indeed is a blessing from the Lord. But we need consider our roles. God as the maker of heaven and the earth has the right to call to account how his gifts have been put to use by every one of us. No man has come with the right to enjoy wealth not belonging to him and not having justify his actions. We need not consider how wealth is created and how man tries to hold on to privileges and wealth by stealth that over the years have become a precedent. But before God no such man made laws, of the nation can save anyone who has proved to be bad stewards. At best we are his stewards as the many parables of Jesus Christ illustrate.
God always sets signs and symbols on the material objects that man often fails to acknowledge. Rock from which the children of Israel drank was not merely rock but holds a spiritual side. Manna similarly from heaven signified something much more than the article themselves. In these two parables we can see the Spirit relying on the husks and the beggar to teach the persons concerned something profound.
Death is the last stop before hell for those who felt no conscience prick about spending wealth with such impudence and boast over what they were not entitled to use solely for their own enjoyment. The rich man did not bring wealth at birth and neither did he care if the wealth of others passing through his hands entitled him to carry blessings as well beyond the land of the living. When we are given gifts we need accept where they are from and set before us a warning: our accountability to God and our fellowmen shall confront us one day..
Internal evidence suggests both were Jews and observed the commandments of Moses. What the younger son wasted was material aspects of his (Father’s) living. Diaspora of Jews scattered the nation of Israel to four corners of the earth and in one such places the younger son being cast into dire straits joined to a citizen who tended the swine. It was in such a circumstance he awoke himself to the spiritual aspects of his father. Love of God is one such quality material wealth throws up.
Before we move on we need consider an aspect of spiritual life not often dwelt upon. The Prodigal Son among the swine delineates how tenuous our connection in the world is and being tempted all about us. The son had to eat whatever came in hand in order to satisfy hunger. ‘Being unequalled yoked’ with ungodly in the world how often we see children of God is constrained to live like every other in order to be as one among them. Certain cultural baggage that a believer carries around is unnecessary and often a drag on his spiritual life. There was a coarsening aspect wealth brings on people that the five brothers of the dives would not have listened to him had he gone to warn them of what agony awaited them. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Lk.16:31). If wealth has deadened the soul what awaits man?
(reprinted from Guide To His Word)
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A legend that had persisted from the age of Three Dynasties in China related to the existence of a curious Sun- disk. Some were certain it was dropped from the sky. Others were sure it was the Will of heaven. No one could agree what it was.
It was a day’s journey so Confucius set out to see it, accompanied by his grand son Tsesze.
It was a large monolithic stone with large opening at the centre. In order to examine it in detail they had to negotiate their way over a series of stones laid across a stretch of shallow stream. At every turn they found that they could see through that opening a changing scenery which was like inspecting a large scroll painting. They stood there awed by the scenic beauty for long.
As darkness fell they realized that instead of looking at the celestial object they spent time admiring the view. It reminded them of their own backyard. Before they turned to leave Tsesze asked his grand father,” Is it not curious that we wasted coming here? Just as though we were at home?” Later Confucius observed ‘We seek Nature’s Order behind everyday reality. Instead we let our senses trick us.’He added Nature use man’s senses as first line of defense. So man with uncultivated mind would stop there and look beyond. Nature has her mysteries and it is not for all. We are scholars and even so how easily we are beguiled?’
Nature opens her secrets only to those who have devoted to keep the Will of heaven natural and sacred. Indeed they are sages.
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While Rome took control of Israel it was decreed that Torah should not be seen anywhere in the land. There came Pappos Ben Yehuda and found Rabbi Akiva carrying on as usual giving lectures to great assemblies and studying Torah.
The visitor was aghast and asked,’Akiva, are you not afraid of the wicked government?’
The Rabbi said,”I will tell you a parable: to what is the matter like? A fox walking along the running stream saw some fishes darting in and out with great agitation. The fox asked what was the matter. They answered,’From nets which men are bringing against us.’
He said to them,’Let it be your pleasure to come upon the dry land, and let us you and me,dwell together ever as my fathers dwelt with your fathers.’
‘Are you he whom they tell that you are the wisest of all animals? You are not wise but a fool. If we are in the place which is our life-element, how much more so in a place which is our death element?'”. The Rabbi added,’So alas it is with us: now while we sit and study Torah, in which it is written,’for that is thy life, and the length of thy days,’we are in such plight, how much more so if we go and neglect it!’ (from the Talmud)
Note: Rabbi Akiva was the greatest scholar of his age, and his support won Bar Kochaba wide following. When Rome prohibited the study of Torah in 135 AD, he defied the decree. He was arrested as a rebel,imprisoned and executed at Caesarea.( ack: The Jews in Their Land/ed. Ben-Gurion.pub.1966)
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Misery could not bear stay at home. So went she visiting. Wherever she went she announced herself thus, “I am Misery.” She came home all the more miserable because none wanted her company.
Her sister Joy thought she knew how to amuse herself. She sold everything she had and went visiting. She bought presents to give away. Wherever she went she said, “I am Joy!” She was wined and dined and she gave away all she had. At the end those who received her well inquired, “What did you say your name was?”
Joy thought she had wasted her time.
Happiness, the eldest sister went visiting. Wherever she went she announced, “Will you let me stay with you? ”and the house owner asked every time, “Who are you?”
“I am nobody.” At this many a door was slammed in her face.
In the end she knocked at one door. A man opened and was told the same she told some thousand times: ‘I am nobody, Just Happiness.’
The man replied, “I am also a nobody but I have my time to give. I have a body to keep the hearth blazing. Just you and me. You want that?”
She agreed and thus she stayed on. Later he observed that he had the best deal in his life.
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Posted in parable, short story, tagged Benny Thomas, changes, ethical living, flash fiction, fool, global warming, Inuit, Nanavut, parables, relative values, short stories, wise on May 14, 2012|
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In a curious town like Pye-in-the Skye there are many ways to be considered ‘mad.’ Max was not an idiot but the folks thought he was a borderline case. They didn’t take kindly to those who did not live unto their expectations. Nor did they warm up to those who stuck to their guns. As soon as he learned to assemble a refrigerator he knew he wanted to sell one. Where did he go but to the North Pole and naturally the rest sighed and said, ‘Good riddance.’
He wanted to sell refrigerators to the natives.
The Inuit didn’t buy a single one and he died a very poor man. All that he left behind was some ice boxes and a technical manual.
On the other hand Dr. Faustus having made a pact with the devil became the most celebrated scholar. He knew everything that went under the Sun, which passed for knowledge. How the crowned heads and scholars alike feted him! Then came the computers that made him redundant. He died in grief. He said that a machine beat him. Yes.
The world went a-changing! Then came a thaw and ice melted. The polar caps vanished as an icicle in a furnace. The people in Nunavut learned to live with the climate changes. Then someone found the papers of ‘Mad’ Max and it was a discovery that electrified the whole region. They began to make fridges themselves and control their houses to the right temperature.
The world in their own muddling ways saw a great injustice was done to Inuit. They owed to them a great debt for destroying their old way of life. How to repay them?
Nunavut became synonymous the home of refrigerators. The world leaders came to an agreement that fridges made there could be sold worldwide duty-free. Buying fridges made in Nunavut was consistent with principles of ethical living. Inuit prospered.
Who contributed to the welfare of the world more? A fool or a scholar?
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Posted in Law, nature, parable, tagged Benny Thomas, Cosmic Mind, dream state, nature, parable, philosophy, physical reality, ultimate reality on February 16, 2012|
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Dream within Another Dream ©
Vishnu the Arbiter of Cosmic Order was once taking ease on a lotus and he was sure he would keep himself light as a breath so as not to be a burden.
He dozed off and was disturbed by a bumble bee. He created a lotus just as the one he was resting and shooed it to drink from the new. He dozed off but he was once again woken up. The same bumble bee and the bee was in no mood to palaver. Vishnu became irritated and said, ‘go to the blazes.’ The bumble bee just ended in smoke.
Well Lord Vishnu slept soundly and after eons of time he was called to determine a case between a bumble bee and the lotus. His jaw dropped to see that the bumble bee was none another than the one he had incinerated. He turned around to see the other plaintiff. The lotus that he had created out of thin air was there. And looking rather peeved.
As Keeper of the comic order he had no choice but to get on with the case. He asked the Bumble Bee to produce his witness. Who takes the witness stand but Lord Shiva? The Lord of Destruction said it was true that it was his third eye that did the deed.
Visnu looked sternly and asked , ‘ who passed the order to kill the bee?’
Lord Shiva said, ‘You gave the order milord! In a dream!’ The god of Destruction upon cross examination explained that Lord Vishnu was part of his dream.
It was the turn of the lotus to bring forth his complaint. The plant said that the ashes of the bumble bee made him defiled for eternity.
But Lord Vishnu reasoned that the lotus could not have a reason for complaining since it was he who created out of nothing.
‘You are wrong,’ Lord Brahma said, ‘ you were in my dream and it was I created the plant because you insisted on it. ’
Transmigration of souls would make every blade of grass, rock, bumble bee or man as a dream within dream of another. It can go on ad infinitum.
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Before the creation time were many spirits, exhalations from the four elements clarified into shapes, for want of a name I shall call gods. They assembled somewhere between heaven and hell.
The fire felt one moment a quick impulse and was the first one to speak. He said, ‘There must be a chief god. I have at times such a perverse thought to destroy everything to ashes.’
Water leant forward and said,’Don’t you worry, I am at hand to put you out.’
Air sniggered and said,’Oh divine fire, reign supreme I shall fan you so vigorously that water shall not quench you.’ Earth said ‘Water must have help against fire. Since air has taken sides with fire, naturally I shall give water all assistance’.
Thus earth was formed with water to sustain life. Stars appeared in the sky and fire god was sure his majesty was well established.
Still the gods realized that their chief controversy was not yet resolved. Who is the chief god?
Since there was no consensus they decided to ask the man to settle the question.
The fire-god Agni asked, ‘What is man that such a question should be put to him?He is merely Chance, a fluke!’
Man indeed was a result of so many chains of events as the gods themselves exhalations of four elements.
Man who felt in his very being the long simmering controversy among gods was disquieted. He could not say why but his troubled spirit convinced him he needed gods.
When he was asked to choose the chief god he merely answered,’ Get me all the gods you can find’.
The answer didn’t please the gods so they said, ‘let him choose whoever. But chance is going to upset all his calculations.’
Frederick Nietzsche wrote about a superman yet to be born. Even the superman will be undone by chance as Adolf Hitler who mouthed his ideals and tried to prove as one, lost out to Chance. Recently credit rating of the US was downgraded and it is predicted that the nation will not so soon recover. The nation that made wealth as synonymous as success merely proved my point: the very strength that you make out as your god shall prove your weakness.
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