You and I have probably read or heard of “The Parable Of The Prodigal Son” more times than we can count. You may even know it as “The Parable Of The Lost Son”. For some reason, every time I hear a pastor preach on this story, it shines a new light on it every single time. If this is your first time hearing about it, please feel free to first read Luke 15:11-32 for some context.
You might think that “prodigal” could mean “lost” because in the parable the younger son loses his way, demands for his share of the inheritance before his father’s death, squanders it, and finally realizes his wrongs & comes home. But “prodigal” is actually defined as wasteful, extravagant, recklessly spending…
Recently we led worship at the Cornerstone Church Retreat, where YWAM speaker Rev. Joe Ferrante spoke on “The Father Heart Of God”. A couple of questions he asked that weekend were: How do you view God’s heart for your life? Do you believe that He really is good and that you are good enough for His love?
From time to time, we might feel like the younger son – thinking “I’ve got this”, ignoring God the Father, and wasting it all away on things we think we’ve got a handle on. Maybe you’ve actually done this in real life with your own parent(s). But as you know, life isn’t perfect… we aren’t perfect. Even Jesus said that in this world we’ll have trouble (John 16:33)! So why do we run away from God our Father and think that we don’t need His love and support?
Lately I’ve come to re-realize that the Father heart of God is as extravagant, as extreme, as prodigal as the younger son… but in the best sense possible! But to draw an even better picture, Jesus continues the story: the younger son comes home to beg for his father’s forgiveness. Yet the father, who was waiting for his son to return, sees him from a distance and runs to embrace him. I’m sure the son was surprised – I know I would be! But he says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
The father’s response? “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Not only does the father take him back… he throws a feast! If you were the older son at this point you’d probably be thinking as he does, “Hey… what’s this? Where’s my feast?”… But Rev. Joe Ferrante puts it very nicely here: The party may not necessarily have been for the younger son, but for the father. That’s how extravagant God’s love is for us. That’s how much and how long He’s been waiting for us to come to our senses and come home too. That’s how lavishly He wants to waste it all on you and me.
To even throw a party for the one who’s messed up so badly in life… wow. But you know, He gets it. Life’s tough and stuff happens. He gets it. Just as the father killed the fattened calf for the returned son, our Father sacrificed the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, so that those who see this sign of God’s perfect love would come home and realize the true heart of the Father.
No matter how badly or carelessly you’ve handled things, God is waiting for you to return… maybe even for the first time. You might not think you’re worth it, but He does! God searches our hearts and knows us (Psalm 139). He is good all the time, even when you don’t feel like you’re good enough for His love. Wherever you’re at today, I pray that you would experience an extravagant love from the Father like no other.
Reflection Song: Here Today