prodigal – adjective – spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant
You probably know the story of the Prodigal Son. Whether it’s the father, the older brother or the prodigal, every one of us can relate to someone in this story.
In my own life, I am a younger brother. At one point, I acted more like this younger brother than I care to remember. I‘ve also struggled with the struggles of the older brother. And as a parent, I can relate to the father.
Jesus’ story is brilliant and beautiful. In spite of the son’s wasteful extravagance with half of his estate, his father more than welcomes him home.
Through the father’s response to his son’s return, we see how deep the unfailing love of our Father is for us. Jesus’ story helps us understand His grace for us, and breaks through the idea of earning our Father’s love and acceptance.
Let’s consider a few lessons for us from the story of this younger son.
One: His father knew better. This son demanded his inheritance before he had the maturity to handle the money. He pursued the passions of his heart and wastefully spent everything. We’re prone to consider our way best, fearing to seek, wait on and trust our Father’s plans for us.
“Trust in The LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear The LORD and turn your back on evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7
Two: By leaving home, the son physically left the blessing and covering of his father’s home. The younger son rebelled; thinking his way was better than his father’s. God has a way for us, not to harm us, but to bless us. We fear God’s way will limit us, but His way is filled with blessings like joy, peace and His Presence.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. …
Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of The LORD forever.” – Psalm 23:1-3,6
Three: He broke. Coming to his senses, he realized he would be better off as a servant in his father’s house than as a slave in this foreign land. This young son, hungry and slopping pigs, finally came to the end of himself. All of us, at some point in our journey, break. We become overwhelmed by the circumstances of life and turn to our Father. And there we find Him!
“God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” – Matthew 5:3
Four: As soon as the son comes home, his father rejoices in his return. I believe this to be “the” lesson in this story. Our Father rejoices over us! We haven’t earned this love, but we have a Heavenly Father who created us, who loves us so much He sent His own Son to reconcile us to Him. He did all of this, so we could be in a close relationship with our Heavenly Father.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." – Zephaniah 3:17
There are so many lessons, and there is so much beauty in this story. Regardless of who we are, what we have done or where we are right now, we can turn to our Father and He will lovingly take us back. In fact, He rejoices over you and me.