“It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. The son was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, “Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.”‘
“He got right up and went home to his father. When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, the father ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you’ I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to his servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!'” ~ Luke 15:13-23, The Message
The story of the Prodigal Son. Did you know “prodigal” means “wasted”? Me either. When I hear the term prodigal, I know what or who it is referring to. My goodness, we have a prodigal son that is prayed for every day. But.
But I didn’t realize that the word prodigal meant wasted.
Wasted life. Wasted talents. Wasted God-given dreams…the list could go on.
Sort of changes the perspective, doesn’t it?
How easily we place this label of…what – Pity? Condemnation? Frustration? on those we know and love who have walked away from the Lord. But perhaps, the word prodigal applies to us, as well. Perhaps, at times, we allow the world to consume a part of our heart in a way that pushes God aside – not totally, but just enough. Perhaps we waste the gift God has given us because it takes us too far out of our comfort zones. Perhaps we just don’t want to count the cost of discipleship any longer and we become complacent with studying the Word and prayer. Perhaps.
What does verse twenty say? “When the son was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, the father ran out, embraced him and kissed him.” The father was so excited that his child had returned, he RAN to embrace him and covered him with kisses and hugs. I love what the next couple of verses say, “The son started his speech….But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to his servants…” The father was so excited that his child had returned home, he didn’t want the son to explain everything. The father just wanted to restore him to the family and celebrate.
God is like that, you know. He knows our hearts long before we return to Him. He knows our struggles when we wrestle with the demons of fear and complacency. He knows…He knows.
And yet He loves us.
Whatever is keeping you from God, it could never be enough to keep Him from you.
Father, Our only hope is Your love for us; our comfort is Your grace poured out so abundantly. Thank You, Lord. Thank You that You respond to us even before we recognize our need for You. We reach out our hand to You as You run to embrace us. Father, Your love is amazing. Restore Your children today. Open our eyes to see the wasted places in our lives. Awaken our hearts to love You more. Praise you, Lord.