Climbing the More with Less Ladder

The effort to achieve goodness
stretches the most ambitious soul.
Faced with global warming,
the oil crisis and rampant materialism,
we can and do rise to the occasion.
We track our miles and kilometers
for every carbon footprint,
we pinch pennies,
we recycle and re-use,
we evaluate and re-evaluate
our time-saving, time-treasuring,
simple-life strategies.

Having scrambled our way up this hill of beans
we modestly pride ourselves in knowing a thing or two.
We shake our heads and exchange knowing looks
about all those prodigal sons and daughters
with their wasteful wanton ways.
We dispense tips, constructively,
to all who may not be as high up
on the more-with-less ladder.

News of the feast hits us like a wall . . .
extravagant lavishness,
over-the-top hospitality.
Our eyes wide as platters we exclaim,
“That fatted calf could have been sold
and the money given to the poor!
Don’t get me started on the gold rings!”
As the unsimple are welcomed into the kingdom,
our father pulls out a chair for us at the feasting table,
asking, with a smile, “Are you ready for grace?”

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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