the prodigal father - II

the prodigal father - II
Photo by Alexander Mils / Unsplash
And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me." And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living...

Most people call this story, "The Prodigal Son," but here are the definitions of prodigal that I found:

Prodigal - from Merriam-Webster
1. adj, characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure; a prodigal feast
2. adj, recklessly spendthrift
3. adj, yielding abundantly: luxuriant
4. noun, one who spends or gives lavishly and foolishly

In this part of the story, we have to wonder: which character is the prodigal? No reasonable father would give up half his possessions to his young son when he knows full well that they'll be wasted. That's foolish. That's insanity. Some might even call it reckless or pointless. Why would someone be so overwhelmingly generous to someone so obviously undeserving?

The quick answer is I don't know. I don't know why this prodigal father yielded to his youngest son and yielded so abundantly. But we all know how the story goes. We know that the father in this story is none other than God himself—and when I think of it, it's overwhelming. Bethel Music got it right in this simple song:

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

The prodigal father of this story gave between one-third and one-half of his property depending on who's interpreting the story. But our Prodigal Father goes further. He gave us life—both the life we live and the life he lived on Earth with us. God already possessed eternal life, power, fame, and authority. He already owned everything on this planet and beyond, but he wanted to give it to us. He wanted us to have it for our own.

Yet, I've found that I'm on my own prodigal journey—squandering God's free gifts on reckless living. I live as if I'll never see him again. I live as if I somehow earned the gifts he gave me. I'll even fight with people who imply otherwise! I want to use his gifts for things he never intended… but the results of this come up later in the story!

Right now, I recognize that he already knows all my faults and all my weaknesses. He knows exactly how I'm going to abuse his creation today, tomorrow, and a hundred years from now, but he still chooses to overwhelm me with blessings. God is the ultimate prodigal.