This is a prophetic word spoken in early 2015 at Christian International in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
Today, many of us continue to pray over this word and to believe for the fulfillment of the promise it holds. The return of the prodigal is a story in itself but if we look a little deeper there is much more to this promise. We often think of the prodigal as someone who is “backslidden”, or no longer bearing the fruit reflective in a Christian’s walk. Yet, all of mankind came from the Creator, Father God.
I believe that if God said “the prodigals are coming home” then naturally this means an increased expectation in Him. But does this also mean that “prodigals” includes those who have not yet said the “sinner’s prayer”? After all, we are all out of relationship with God until we come back into relationship through Christ Jesus. God’s promise, “the prodigals are coming home” therefore also extends to all of creation returning to their creator.
The term prodigal has several meanings. The British Dictionary lists the origin of the word which stems from the Medieval Latin prōdigālis meaning, “wasteful.” The Latin based definitions include: prōdigus “lavish”, prōdigere “to squander”, and agere “to drive”. And finally, Merriam Webster defines it as “carelessly wasteful”.
The well-known prodigal parable, from Luke 15, is the story of the second born son. The son goes to his father and asks for his inheritance so that he could go and make his own way in the world. Instead of his expected success the son squanders all that he has on a lavish lifestyle. Broken and without a place to live he returns to the house of his father. At that point he is even willing to work as a servant just to have his daily needs, a roof over his head and food to eat, met. It is this ending to the parable that has the most meaning; this glimpse of a Daddy God, pictured in a father’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
As I contemplated further, God reminded me of the parable from Matthew 21: 28-32, which gives a slightly different view of the prodigal parable.
There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard. ’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. ‘Which of the two did what his father wanted?’ ‘The first,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him’ (NIV).
Sometimes even those of us who profess Christ as Lord, are prodigal, because we are acting like the second son. In our culture we wear designer clothes with pride and confidence. Yet even though we have accepted Christ, and have access to the best designer label ever, we hide the evidence at home in a prayer closet. God is calling believers to maintain intimacy with Him even outside of that closet. God is calling us into a sold out relationship with Him; a relationship greater than we have ever known before. He is calling us to wear the “Christian” label and show off the true designer, “God”.
On a recent trip to Bermuda, I arrived at the gate in Atlanta to my connecting flight about an hour before departure. I was scheduled to teach at a Bible college and then preach at church on the following Sunday. Plans were made to arrive the day before the teaching began so that I was prepared for the following days of ministry. While waiting on the flight the airline gave an announcement. They were looking for 8 individuals to give up their seats and in exchange they would be flown to Boston and put on a connecting flight to Bermuda, arriving at 1 p.m. the following day. They also included accommodations and food for the Boston stay, each receiving a voucher for $800.00.
Wow! I wanted to be in. This voucher could help with tickets for my family to visit family or be used to partially cover a ticket to Asia or…the possibilities were swimming in my head. I would not begin speaking until 5:45 p.m. the next day so I felt that I had plenty of time. But then my practical side kicked in and I remembered the many delays experienced with air travel and there were no guarantees everything would work out as planned. So I just stuck to the original plans and continued to wait to board the scheduled flight.
In Bermuda, preparing for the Sunday service, I prayerfully considered this “prodigal” revelation that had birthed in me from the prophetic word given earlier that year. I heard the Lord say, “If you had taken the offer the airline extended, you would have been carelessly wasteful with the Bermuda assignment I gave you.”
There is a much larger picture that we must consider: God’s Kingdom, His purpose, and His people. He loves you and He loves me. Out of this great love comes His desire to meet our needs and to build with Him an intimate relationship.
When we hold onto the gifts that God has given us, and do not use them for the benefit of others, we are carelessly wasteful with our gifts. When we do not help meet the needs of those around us we are carelessly wasteful with our blessings. When we see a person who needs prayer and we think, “let someone else do it, I don’t have time” we are carelessly wasteful with our ability to talk to God. When we do not spend time in the Word or in prayers of thanksgiving for all God has done for us we are carelessly wasteful with our relationship to the Father. When we do nothing with a prophetic word, a promise from God for our lives, we are carelessly wasteful with the very heart of the Father toward us. And finally, when we misuse our bodies (what we consume, lack of physical activity, depriving ourselves of sleep or rest) we are carelessly wasteful with the temple of God, our body.
God has filled our lives with blessings such as work, family, friends, provision, and technology. It is time for us as believers to live our lives more purposefully and to demonstrate the goodness of our Creator and the joy of our salvation.
God said it is time for the prodigals to come home; those who are far from home, to return and those who are close to come in fully.
Father, I pray everyone who reads this message will hear You and be sensitive to Your voice as You show each of us where we are “carelessly wasteful”. Forgive us for the wastefulness, in any way that it has been demonstrated in our lives. Thank You for every blessing, every day of life. Thank you for the hope of salvation and the purpose You have for each of us. Give us the grace needed to follow through in all areas of our lives and that we are determined to move by Your leading. We determine to demonstrate the passion, love, kindness and goodness of You, our heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.