Luke 15:11–24 (NLT) To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. 17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” ’ 20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
This is called the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Prodigal means wasteful, spending recklessly, not wayward like it is usually used. This son determined that his father was as good as dead to him, so he demanded his inheritance early. The father complied with the request and allowed his son to waste his life if that is what he intended to do.
The father waited patiently for him to return. We have no idea how long that might have taken. It seems it was years, not months. The father faithfully awaited his son’s return. When he saw him coming, he knew that meant the son had repented and come home. The father didn’t even need to wait for his confession. His presence and demeanor said it all.
His older brother was not happy with the greeting his brother received. He thought he should be punished by the father for his behavior. The father understood something the older son did not. The penalty for a squandered his life is a squandered life! The son who stayed home remained under the full blessing of the father.
Our son, Rick, wrote a song called The Prodigal. I wish you could hear it right now. It is a powerful song about the blessing of coming back to our Father!
Music & Lyrics by Rick Stump
It’s me the prodigal coming home to you
Spent my days in debauchery, now I’m coming home to you
Well world was just a predator, like a tombstone on my back
When it left me here in prison with desire
And it sucked the life right out of me, ‘til I couldn’t get it back
So the only rest I found was in the fire.
See I spent my shinny penny on a long-lost dream
And I squandered the inheritance you gave to me
Filled my heart with hell, ’til hell was all my eyes could see
Well there’s got to be a way that I could be forgiven
It’s me the prodigal running back to you
No more nights in debauchery, I’m coming back to you
I saw you there in front of me and my eyes filled up with tears
When you said you saw me coming from a distance
You washed the dirt right off of me and put new clothes on my back
And you said that all my sins had been forgiven
I’m coming back to you…
Maybe you have been the prodigal son or daughter of God. A squandered life can be redeemed if you will come back to your Father who is waiting for you. In fact, God says, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
So What? If you are living like a prodigal, come back to God. If someone you love is a prodigal, know that God is waiting for them to return. Never give up hope! Pray expressing your heart’s desire.
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