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The Height of Extravagance

I’ve been centered on the Jesus’ parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32) for a little while now. I even mentioned it in my last post, but even though we normally center this story on the younger brother’s journey, Jesus makes no such distinction.

It’s a story about a father and his sons all of whom were prodigals. What do I mean? The word prodigal simply means “extravagant.” Each person in the story was extravagant in his own way.

The younger son is obvious. He wanted his inheritance before the proper time and quickly squandered it living the “high life.”

The older son is more subtle, but he extravagantly indulged his sense of duty to work for his father then extravagantly envied his brother and resented his father.

But far above them both was the extravagance of the father. He didn’t abide by cultural norms. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. He wanted both his sons to know him and connect.

Timothy Keller says in the Prodigal God,

As a general rule, distinguished Middle Eastern patriarchs did not run. Children might run; women might run; young men might run. But not the paterfamilias, the dignified pillar of the community, the owner of the great estate. He would not pick up his robes and bare his legs like some boy.

If you know the story, the father ran while the lost son was a long way off. He had been looking for him and waiting for him. His heart refused to give up on extravagant hope.

This picture of our Father running to us makes about as much sense today as it did then (although for different reasons). The God of the universe, the Creator of all things would run to me? I don’t think so.

It’s hard to wrap your head around, but extravagant love does crazy things. The younger son returned expecting nothing and received everything. The older son stayed expecting everything but remained far away and ultimately received nothing but bitterness.

He ran to both sons. He longed to draw them in and draw them close.

No matter where you feel you fit on the spectrum today between these two brothers, understand your Father is extravagantly pursuing you.

Extravagant sinning, extravagant bitterness–neither is a match for the extravagance shown by a loving Father who offers extravagant grace, redemption, and forgiveness. I hope you can feel Him pulling you closer today as I do.

Lift up your eyes and see Him running to you.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you relate to this in any way?

6 Comments

  1. My goodness those are extravagant thoughts. I love the picture of the Father hiking up his robe, tucking it in his waist band and running toward me…ohhhhh I love that. Thought will stay with me for a while…thanks brother..

    • Such a beautiful picture isn’t it! He loves us that much and He not only feels it, He expresses it. 🙂 Thanks Betty.

  2. Extravagantly great thoughts here today, Jason! Like Betty, I love picturing our Father running toward us with abandon. Next time I am feeling down, I will recall this image and be comforted.
    Blessings!

    • Amen. What an amazing truth--He’s lavished His love on us that we are called children of God! Thanks so much, Martha.

  3. Yeah, I love that part of the story. The part where he looked for his son with expectation day after day. God longing for us to turn to Him and then rush to us… The Perfect Love that saves us eternally. Wonderful thoughts to start the day. Thanks.

    • Incredible to think how easily I give up on people or situations. I count it as pointless to keep “watching” but here we have the model of a Father who believes against all doubt. He is faith-full and never gives up. Awesome! Thank you, Floyd.

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