Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Prodigal God

The Prodigal God. That’s a silly title for a book, don’t you think? At least I thought so. I mean, isn’t it us who are the prodigal ones? Aren’t we the ones who are always turning our backs on God and not his on us?


1.wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure. or yielding profusely; lavish (usually fol. by of or with): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
3.lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.

When we think “prodigal” we think, lost or run away. And we also think of the story of the Prodigal Son. That is the story that the book by Timothy Keller is based off of. I just finished it and I have a new look on my faith and how God wants me to live.

Jesus has an amazing way of getting through to us in a parable. I always thought the story of the Prodigal Son was about a son that decided to take what his father gave him, take off, blow it foolishly, then wallow in self-pity and return home. But it is much more than that. Jesus used this to speak to the people in the crowd and to the Pharisees. The “younger brother”(the wayward one) was pointed to the crowd and the “elder brother”(the righteous one) was pointed to the Pharisees. But we can learn from this as well.

The younger brother left and foolishly lived his life on what his father had given him. Then the came back and was ready to say that he would work as a hired man, but his father welcomed him back home with open arms and celebration. The elder brother was enraged. He had always been the one that never did any thing wrong, he would say to himself and eventually his father, and look what his brother got. A celebration for his return. How was that fair?!

Neither brother is right in their way. God doesn’t want us to live like the young brother, running off and carelessly living our lives only to come back and receive forgiveness and go off and do it again. Nor does he want us to live like the elder brother, thinking he’s the righteous one, therefore, having the “right” to whatever is his. If we live like the younger brother we will continue seeking for things and never find what could fill the void controlling our lives. If we live like the elder brother, we feel like we deserve a place in heaven because have been “good” and then we could fall away from God because he isn’t answering us like we expect him to since we are doing all he asks of us.

We can get caught up in both lifestyles so easily. But if we would just let go of ourselves, listen to God, feel the Holy Spirit, and believe in Jesus, our lives would be so much more meaningful. God is always there waiting.

In a section of the book, there is a paragraph where Timothy mentions a newspaper that asked “What’s wrong with this world?” The Catholic think G.K. Chesterton replied back, “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton.”

Enter the lyrics from the song The Problem from the band downhere:

Everybody’s wondering how the world could get this way
If God is good, how it could be filled with so much pain
It’s not the age old mystery we’ve made it out to be
Yeah, the problem with the world
The problem with the world is me.

Ain’t it the truth? We are so busy trying to make ourselves look better and bigger. We put down people and belittle them to make ourselves feel better. We make up excuses as to how busy we are and we don’t have time or the patience or money to help someone in need. HELLO?! What if it’s Jesus standing in our midst!? We just laughed in His face if we turned our back on those that need our help the most. When will we eventually wake up? Someday that could be us and we may need someone’s help and we will be wondering why no one is helping. If we aren’t the hands and feet of Jesus and live as He lived, what kind of model of the Body are we to those who aren’t part of it. We are our own hypocrites.

I love this paragraph from the book:

The younger brothers are too selfish and the elder brothers are too self-righteous to care for the poor. Christianity, therefore, is perhaps the most materialistic of the world’s faiths. Jesus’ miracles were not so much violations of the natural order, but a restoration of the natural order. God did not create a world with blindness, leprosy, hunger, and death in it. Jesus’ miracles were signs that someday all these corruptions of his creation would be abolished. Christians therefore can talk of saving the soul and of building social systems that deliver safe streets and warm homes in the same sentence. With integrity.

I hope with sincere love that someday we all can open our eyes and live as neither brother, but openly share the love of Jesus as He did. I don’t want to live like a Pharisee, righteous thinking that I am too good to not step down and help the younger brother. I don’t want to live like the younger brother always running and never reaching the hand of God.

God is a Prodigal God. He lavishly lets his grace fall on us. He wants nothing more than to welcome us back with open arms and wrapped us tightly in them. Let him be part of your life and consume it completely above all else this world has to offer. For, it’s only temporary. But God? God is eternal.


Twelvestone said...

I love this one too. I am in the same boat.

Ahoy! Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes life should be an open book and here you will find that true. My mind is always on full speed and I will be heading over many waves. I hope this journey is as much of an adventure for you as it is for me~ ~Mindy