The Prodigal Son and His Father

Dr. James Spinnati

The story of the Prodigal Son is not about the son per se; it is about the Father.

In this case we are picturing God who is the Father of us all. Most, when imagining God, think of God’s judgment and wrath. There are few that really see the true love which emits from the Father of Lights. I want you to know three things about the Father’s love; His love does not depend on how good you are, it doesn’t depend upon what you do, and lastly His love never changes.

The Prodigal son wanted to get what he had always desired. He wanted to get away from his father’s control. He wanted to be in charge of his life. His attitude was, “No one is going to tell me what to do or where not to go.” In essence, he wanted to have “complete freedom”. When he left his father’s house he didn’t walk down the road; he ran away from everything that was “holding him back”. He was on his way to wine, women, and song. Why is it that so many want what they “can’t have” and find when they have it that they don’t want it?

The Prodigal son partied 24/7 and had “fun” while the money lasted. But soon all that money that he had based his “freedom” on was gone. The young man had great fun while the money lasted. There were new friends, pretty girls, and something to do all the time. But the young man was in for a shock, something he didn’t expect would happen so soon; probably he didn’t expect it at all. Notice the three things that hit him hard; his money ran out, there was a famine, and he was hungry. When he had money he had “friends”. These friends were his “friends” because of what he had. The problem is he “bought” his friends. It is a hard lesson to learn, but everyone needs a teacher of hard knocks which is nothing more than a reality check. I was the first on our block in Lima, Ohio to get a car and boy oh boy did I have friends, but when the guy down the block got a new 1955 Chevy all my “friends” left! Brothers and sisters there is never a shortage of friends when you have money or you have something that they don’t have or want.

Let’s look at the trouble that he is in; let me count the ways: he is hungry, broke, a foreigner in a strange land, void of friends and relatives, and no United States welfare program to fuel him.

Many teenagers that I talk to are “hard to please” when it comes to jobs they will do; most want to start out on top. They want to be the CEO before they have even swept a floor. Some have little desire to get up early, work second turn, or even wear the company uniform! Yet this young man who was bankrupt took the only job he could find because he was hungry. The Bible says also, “And no man gave unto him.” What happened to all his “friends”? No one would help him and even the job of feeding the pigs didn’t bring in enough money to put food on the table. This boy was spiritually bankrupt too. Here he was a Jew feeding pigs; which were considered unclean! When he left the father’s house he was fancy free; now he is miserable, starving, and desperate.

“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:17-20).

The pivotal point in the story is when the prodigal son came to himself. He realized four things; he had made a bad decision leaving the father’s house, he had no future where he was, his father’s servants were better off that he was, and, most of all, he remembered the blessings that came from his father’s house.

When the boy came to himself, he realized two great truths. First, “I am no more worthy to be called thy son,” he knew he had violated his birthright and his inheritance. He knew that he had lost all. The second thing he knew is that he only wanted to be a servant to his father.

The father was probably sitting on the front porch looking down the road. This father was full of hope and expectation. This father was a man who loved his son. Note the four things the father did; he had compassion, ran to him, fell on his neck and kissed him! Please notice what he didn’t do. He didn’t say, “I told you so, well I hope you have had enough, out of money I suppose, and you should have listened to me instead now you are crawling back and expect me to take care of you!”

Please note that the father cut the son’s “speech” short. Remember the son planned to say, “Make me as one of thy hired servants,” but he never got a chance to say that. Why? Because the father said, “Bring the best robe, the ring, new pair of shoes, and let’s make merry.”

This Father’s Day maybe you as a father have a prodigal; learn from the father in this story. Never ever be hateful and unforgiving when your child seeks to come back home. They are not looking for a critical spirit. They already know that they have messed up. Instead they are looking for love and compassion. Remember your youth and the numerous mistakes that you made and be compassionate.

If you are a spiritual prodigal and have never obeyed God the Father you are spiritually bankrupt, you are starving spiritually and your Heavenly Father wants you to come home. He is sitting on the “front porch” of heaven waiting for you. Why don’t you come home; after all it is Father’s Day?

Dr. James Spinnati