The story of ‘The Prodigal Son‘ is a definite favourite among Christians. We love it! I love it too because it’s the most explicit description of God’s extraordinary grace. And the lesson is enough to cause any that have gone astray to boldly arise and return to the Father, whose arms are always open, and who is always ready to forgive.
However, I think, like every good thing, it is prone to abuse. Sometimes, people take the wrong lesson from a story. Too many people have concluded wrongly that they can always go back and ask for forgiveness. That they can be good later, and indulge their flesh for a while. This is a very dangerous conclusion to be drawn from a message of God’s unconditional love.
What may not be clearly evident in Jesus’ parable was that the prodigal son still faced the consequence of his decision. Having squandered his wealth, he had nothing to his name. Like the Father said to the faithful son, “all I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).
We should not therefore wait to have a deathbed conversion, with the expectation that we will have the same reward as the wise servant…