The Prodigal Son


Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

“After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’

So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘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.’

So they began to celebrate.

Luke 15:11-22

Do you know what the word “prodigal” means?

As in, the Story of the Prodigal Son, told by Jesus, in Luke 15?

The word “prodigal” doesn’t mean wayward, rebellious, or lost. It also doesn’t mean to return, or was lost but now found.

The word prodigal means “to spend money wastefully or recklessly.”

Wow! Who knew?

The description Jesus gives us in that Parable is of a younger son who wastes the money and inheritance that was given to him by his father by using it to chase the pleasures of the world.

I can’t help but think that story hits different when we see it in that light.

In fact, maybe more than we’d ever like to admit, we ARE living as the prodigal son—wasting the money and inheritance that God has given to us, spending it on the things of this world rather than the pursuits of His kingdom.

Wasn’t that, after all, the actions of the younger son? Taking his inheritance (money, gifts, education, even the family name) and recklessly wasting it on the world and wild living?

How often do we do the same?

Of course, there are two things we notice in this parable that can’t be overlooked:

One, prodigal living never pays off fully in the end. There is no lasting fulfillment or joy in the things of this world. And eventually, that will become known to us—hopefully sooner rather than later.

And second, the Father is always there to accept us when we return. If we look back at our past and can see how we have squandered the money and gifts that God has given to us… or even look at the present pursuits of our lives and see the same thing… our God is there, lovingly waiting to accept us back into alignment with His will.

May we live our lives in close proximity to the Father every day, and may the Holy Spirit keep us daily from prodigal living.


Heavenly Father, thank you for your unwavering love. If I am living as the prodigal son in any way, recklessly wasting the gifts you have given me, please show me. My desire is You above all things. Thank you for your faithfulness. May I always turn back to you and your grace. Amen.