A Prodigal Moment
I was listening to a podcast and heard someone refer to a “prodigal moment”. The phrase refers to one of the three stories Jesus tells in Luke chapter 15. The first story is about a lost sheep, the next a lost coin, the third about a lost son. In each story that which was lost is found and in each story there is immense rejoicing over that which was lost.
The prodigal moment refers to the last story in which a father divides his inheritance between his two sons. The younger son blows the money relatively quickly and ends up penniless. He returns home after his lack of funds reduces him to a lifestyle in direct opposition to his faith and to the life he was previously accustomed to in his father’s home. When he comes to his senses, literally himself, indicating his actions were not consistent with his upbringing nor of his own choosing, he returns home and is welcomed with celebration and rejoicing by the father. The older son is a little ticked off that his younger brother gets to blow his money and still gets welcomed home. The father’s response is simple; they’re not rejoicing because of what he did or how he lived, they are rejoicing because he is home.
From this story I can see many “prodigal moments” but I will share three; one from the perspective of each family member. From the younger son’s perspective a prodigal moment could be the moment one realizes the repercussions of their actions and decides to do something about it. Just realizing one’s need or situation is one thing, taking action is entirely different. From the older son’s perspective a prodigal moment could be the moment one realizes we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness. But the most intriguing prodigal moment to me is the associated with the father. This was the moment he accepted and forgave his son. Jesus noted that the father commented that the younger son was previously “dead” to him. The actions of the son likely embarrassed and frustrated the father. How many of us have heard the phrase or felt like families members treated us as if we were “dead” to them. But what father, including our heavenly father, could deny a child who returns, asks for forgiveness, and wishes to be reconnected to the family again?
What are your thoughts on prodigal moments or have you had any you would care to share?