Yesterday I preached a sermon using the parable of the prodigal son. In that story, the father of the returned son tells his servant to prepare a “fatted calf” to eat.
After the sermon and invitation, I usually ask if anyone has anything to say before we dismiss. This is a common occurrence in smaller churches, but not so much in bigger ones. Normally one or two adults will say something, but this time a little hand shot up from the back of the church.
It was a ten year old boy. “I have a question.” I acknowledged him and told him to go ahead.
He asked, “Why did they eat a fatted calf? Why didn’t they have a ham or something?”
Of course this generated a lot of laughter. I told him that I would probably rather have ham, too. Then I thought for a moment. Jesus was speaking to Jews, so the characters in the story would have been understood as being Jews as well. So, it could not have been a ham since their dietary laws prohibited them from eating pig.
What I thought was the best thing about his question is that he was listening. I praise God for that.