Prodigal \Prod”i*gal\, n. One who expends money extravagantly, viciously, or without necessity; one that is profuse or lavish in any expenditure; a waster; a spendthrift. [1913 Webster]
“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.‘ And they began to make merry.”
“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”
“He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Our son brought home a book called The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. The definition of prodigal is one who spends money lavishly. If we look at the parable of the Prodigal son and make a shift from the son to the father we will see that the father was prodigal with his love. As we know the parable depicts two sons: one is self-centred, a moral non- conformist and on a path of reckless self-discovery; the other son is self-righteous, moralistic, a begrudging conformist, and is burdened by obligation. The father is shown as very loving, wise, patient, forgiving and caring towards both sons.
The father, like our God, knows we are not perfect, and that his children have both good and poor qualities. Yet, he loves His children with a love that defies understanding. In our lives we can exhibit the qualities of both the older and the younger son, i.e. living with reckless abandon and/or being morally righteous. But our Father is always there, looking for us to turn to him in love and humility. More so, God gave us His son to be an example of the qualities He is looking for in us. The father in the parable is an example of our Father in heaven: He is continually lavishing His love on us so that we will return to Him.
Like the younger brother, we will receive the Father’s mercy and grace when we recognize that we are a sinner. We must come home to Him.
May we search our hearts this day, regardless of where we are in life, knowing we can always come home to our loving Father.