In the story of the prodigal son, there are two sons. For the sake of this article, I am going to call the older son, “the frugal son”. It’s important to note that in old testament times, the first born was entitled to the whole inheritance. Usually the sense of entitlement comes from the first born child. In this story it shows up in the younger son. This is significant to show how far the Father is willing to go to prove His love toward all His children. Simply agreeing to divide and share His wealth is an extremely loving act. The wealth belongs solely to the Father. If the father had nothing to give, the sons would be entitled to nothing. However, our Heavenly Father, owns everything and we who love Him have been accepted by Jesus to share in that inheritance because of our Eldest Brother’s generosity.
Let’s compare the two. The prodigal son is the one who feels entitled to something that he doesn’t deserve and asks for what is not his to receive. His attitude is wasteful and selfish. Very often, the frugal son doesn’t understand what he has access to, which is necessary to explore. The Father expects us to put to good use all the excellent things He has provided.
Prodigals allow the Lord partial access into their lives but maintain an “You can come in but don’t touch anything” attitude. These ones want God to give them things and their only part in the relationship is receiving. Often getting angry with God when life doesn’t work out in their favour and lacking responsibility for their actions are common traits of a prodigal. They do not let go of the steering wheel of their lives until the school of hard knocks has taught them painful lessons. Blind to their Father’s teachings and the benefits of obeying his ways, they find themselves in disaster. His truths are learned when trust is exercised, by obeying long enough, to experience the benefits. This relationship is shallow and one sided.
Frugals choose to give the Father complete control. They want to stay close to Him because home is where their heart is and they quickly learn that Father knows best. This relationship is give and take with both parties giving and receiving. Working with their Father is a great honor. These sons invite the good and learn to deal with the bad, always challenging the bad while walking as graceful as possible through it. This relationship is deep, intimate, constant companionship. Although the frugal son questions the Father about throwing the prodigal son a party, it’s important to recognize that his relationship with the Father is safe. Frugals enter into their Father’s presence to propose any objections. In that specific conversation, the frugal son finds out that the Father celebrates him every day.
The prodigal son is lost and dead until he comes home where he finds his true identity as a frugal son. A lot of us are prodigal children at some point in our lives. Ultimately, it’s important that we find our destined position hand in hand with our loving Father.