The servants are mentioned first when the younger sibling of the story mentions their abundance of food. The next time we hear about the servants is when the Father demands that they bring the find clothes and kill the fattened calf for the party. Finally, a servant delivers the good news of the party being thrown for the younger brothers return.
The first thing I notice, is the servants have a supporting role to play in the story. They are people who play a role if only to serve the other characters. They gather the materials needed for the siblings to return and help facilitate the party. They are not the center of the story or even the life of the party, however, they help make sure those that need to be are welcomed are, the food is ready for the guests, and that the good news of the party is delivered.
The second thing I notice about the servants is their abundance. When I think of a servant, I don't think abundance. They are the field workers in the service of the Father. The younger sibling sees them having an abundance of food. Despite their labors, the servants are also taken care of in the story, not just the brothers.
Finally, the servants are the bearers of the good news. Most likely in the story, they are the ones inviting the community members to the party to celebrate the lost brother. They also get to tell the news to the older brother who has been out in the field. If you think about it, they are the evangelist of the story. They don't get a whole lot of glory in the story. At most, the servants get to experience the anger of the older brother.
The servants in the story remind me of the abundance of God that is available to all. It is not just the brothers who get to be blessed in abundance, but according to the younger sibling the servants an abundance. Sometimes, I feel like I have my head down and just working. Although I am blessed to be sometimes working I forget to stop and be thankful for all I have. In this time of my life, I am continually working to grow and progress. Growth and transition are a common pattern and part of my families life. It is easy to keep looking forward and forget to stop and look around at the abundance I have. I wonder, do you feel this way? That you get stuck in the grind of life and have to remind yourself to slow down and look around?
The other thing the parable's servant character's make me think about my evangelism. Am I ready to invite others to experience the good news? The servant who tells the older brother the good news of the lost son. I can't help but think that the servants were already working in the field, told to tend to the lost brother, prepare and invite others to the banquet, and through all of that still stop what they are doing to share the good news. The servants remind me to be ready to share my faith and the good news where ever I am no matter what I am doing. It is important to spend the time no matter what to talk to those in need, wondering what is going on, and why there is a party they are invited to attend.
I believe the forgotten and often overlooked characters of servants in the parable of the Prodigal Son have a lot to teach us. The lesson of stopping to notice the abundance you have is something in a fast-paced world is a practice people need to develop. At the same time, I need the reminding to be ready to share the good news of the Father's banquet no matter what I am doing. Evangelism matters and the invitation to the party is an important practice of the church. Mindfulness and gratefulness are also spiritual practices that the church has sought to practice for centuries.
I invite you to write down for a week three things you are grateful for in the morning. It is a great way to start your day and a great way to connect with God in the morning. Finally, I pray you open yourself up to the possibility of sharing the good news this week.
Blessings to you all and thanks for reading and participating in our little community.