We are all familiar of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15; and from childhood, many of us were taught in sunday schools to view this story from the perspective of the son- He took his share of hiis father’s inheritance, went to a different town, squandered all his money, and when reality hit, decided to return home. And of course, the lesson was always “You can always return to God”. Recently, I saw a book that was titled “The Prodigal God”, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around anyone calling God prodigal. I got home and googled the meaning of the word ‘prodigal’. The first meaning that jumped out at me was “wastefully extravagant”, and the second was “to give something away lavishly”. I smiled!
The story of the prodigal son was not really about the son leaving and coming home when he had hit rock bottom. It was about his father who was so willing to accept a son who had defiled him and defiled tradition, by asking for his share of the inheritance while his father was still alive. Can you imagine walking to your parents now and demanding they give your half of their wealth?money you didn’t even work for? especially after they’ve given you everything a child could ever need? It is absolutely unheard of! I trust African parents will scream out loud and propose that child is planning to kill them in their sleep. This father in the parable did none of that. He gave his second son his share, bade him goodbye and let him live his life. He did not threaten him, nor did he even disown him. He let him be.
After suffering harsh conditions, the somn decided it was time to return home and hoped he could be a servant in his father’s house. I guess by now, the gravity of his actions had hit him, and he was feeling remorseful. he packed up whatever was left of his belongings and started the journey back home, probably trying to rehearse what he would say to his father to avoid being banished from the family. But in verse 20, the bible says his father saw him from afar, RAN to him, and KISSED him! That is the most significant part of the parable for me. It highlighted that his father had been thinking about his son the entire time he was away, he had been hoping for his return, and he could hardly contain his excitement when he saw his son from afar! He ran towards him to greet him. He didn’t sit in his room, leaving his son to wonder if it was safe to approach nor did he act like his son was the worst person on earth. He ran towards him, just like God runs towards us when we return home.
God’s love is prodigal; he gives it away lavishly, extravagantly, and he gives it out in surplus quantities. When we drift away, God thinks about us, He hopes we’ll return, He hopes we will realize we can always return home, and not as servants but as sons and daughters! Are you feeling down and out because you took your inheritance and turned away from God? Don’t let the devil fill your head with lies. God is waiting to see you from afar, run towards you, hug you and kiss you, and even throw you a welcome party. Return home today! Stay blessed!