Sometimes we call things by descriptive names that just seem to stick. My grandmother used to call the refrigerator the “Frigidaire”, whether it was in fact a Frigidaire or not. Facial napkins are often called “Kleenexes”, whether they’re really that brand or not. Similarly, at Luke chapter fifteen there’s a story about a young son who left home with the portion of his father’s goods that were intended later to become his inheritance. He wasted all this in riotous living and later returned home to a forgiving and compassionate father. This story is usually referred to as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” As often as I’ve heard that name given to that story, it interests me that the word “prodigal” never appears anywhere in the inspired text. That’s simply a name we have given to the story to describe it’s content. Have you ever considered what that word “prodigal” really means? Judging from the character of the young son in the story, we might assume that “prodigal” means “wayward”. However, the word actually means one who is extravagant and wasteful. You see, it was his father’s material blessing to him that the boy wasted. However, recall that the story is a parable. Therefore, it isn’t really about a wealthy man who gave an inheritance to his son. It’s about our Heavenly Father who has provided us untold spiritual wealth in Jesus Christ, including an opportunity to enjoy citizenship in the kingdom of the Church here, and eternity around the Father’s throne in the hereafter. Even as priceless as all this sounds, many who have had the opportunity to enjoy all these things have wasted them by wandering away from the Father who loves them. It is they about whom the story is written; the prodigal ones, or the extravagantly wasteful who have thrown away the pricelessly valuable. Prayerfully, it is hoped that these will remember the rest of that grand story, and return home to their Father to be re-established in His house and in fellowship with Him.
Written and Recorded By: David Hayes Prophater