The prodigal son is one of the most familiar stories in all of Scripture. We are so familiar with it that it can lose its freshness. I suggest we need to revisit this story and add to all the great truths communicated to us over the years.
I've always read and preached this story from the prodigal son's perspective, casting him in the "starring role." I don't think that's wrong; nor do I think it tells the whole story, though, of a son who had gone prodigal. It is true that the son was excessive in his choice of lifestyle ... taking what the father had given him and squandering it in the far country. He was reduced to feeding swine in the field and filling his belly with the husks. He was no longer worthy to be called a son.
In the story, we know he comes to himself and says, "I'm going back to my father's house, but the best I can expect is to be forgiven and spend the rest of my life living in the servant's quarters." But when he came around the corner, he saw a father anxious to forgive. After a kiss and a warm embrace, he saw his father had gone "prodigal" by engaging in excessive kindness. All he expected to get, at best, was forgiveness, but he got a whole lot more! He got a robe, a ring, shoes, and a banquet with the fatted calf. I think I hear minstrels playing and the servants rejoicing in the background as the father leads a toast because the son had come home!
This is not the only time we've seen our Heavenly Father being prodigal (excessive). He allowed more days for creation than were needed (around seven; only six were needed). He overpaid you by ten percent and then asked that you bring the overage back on the first day of the week. We read in Romans 5:20 that "... where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" Luke 6:38 says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, ..." At both the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand, we see them gathering up the fragments that remained because He was excessive. Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-19, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know ... what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, ..."
I found it to be true myself on the second Sunday of October, 1958. I fell on my knees and when I, the chief of sinners, came asking only for forgiveness (which He cheerfully granted), He then said I was in line for an inheritance. I was also being granted prayer privileges, not to mention that He allowed me to preach His gospel.
Also mentioned in Scripture is that He "... is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, ..." (Ephesians 3:20). It is true in this story of the prodigal son. It is also true in the story of the prodigal Father, the Lord God. Bring the fatted calf!
Written by Dr. Charles F. Keen