Being In Want

“And when he had spent it all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”  Luke 15:14

Reading the Prodigal Son parable today this verse jumped out at me.  Here’s the younger son in his moment of comeuppance (oh, that older brother voice is so strong!).  He has lived high on the hog for a while, but a famine coincides with the end  of his funds, and so he is “in want.”  William Tyndale translates it to “he began to lack.”  Eugene Peterson translates that into “he began to hurt.”  I like Peterson’s take – “he began to hurt.”  Recall that this kid has lead a privileged life up to this point and has likely not really ever “hurt” or “lacked” or “been in want,” but here he is experiencing that all alone in a far-off land.  He has no cell phone to call home, no computer to link up with others on social media.

It occurs to me that we’ve all been there, in that moment of hurt, lack, or want, and so has everyone else.  If we haven’t been, we’re gonna be, and even if we have been we may be there again, and again, and again.

It is easy, not having been there, to assume that those who are created their own mess, and even easier to assume that if we aren’t there (any longer) it is because of our own efforts.  All that may be true, or not.  Still, it sucks to be there, and our turn may be next.  It occurs to me that that, in and of itself, is a reason to take a “kinder and gentler” position on this journey through life.  Or, we could just short circuit all that reasoning and be “kinder and gentler” because it is the right thing to do.

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