To be behind, to lack, to be in need, to fail
A Clever Verse for Context
When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need (ὑστερέω) (Luke 15:14).
We began this devotional by discussing the mis-orientation of the human heart (harmartia). The lack, need, and failure (hustereo) experienced by the younger son in Jesus’ prodigal parable is closely related to this mis-orientation. In both cases, something crucial is missing. The experience of famine and acute need eventually bring home to the younger son just how alienated he has become from the things, or rather people, that matter. As sinners we are all in a state of lack, starved for both divine and human connection. This lack makes itself known in loneliness, alienation, physical hunger, violence, and so much more. Something is lacking, something crucial.
We can be behind (hustero) in many ways: financially, in terms of success and esteem, temporally. In Herodotus’ History the Athenians are late (hustero) for an agreed upon meeting by a day (Herodotus 6.89).
Clever Questions for Further Reflection
When have you been in need?
How has the your need for one thing made you aware of a deeper lacking in your life and relationships?
How have you helped others or been helped during a time of need?
A Clever Prayer to Close
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?