I love the story of the Prodigal Son, on several layers. Did you know that the word prodigal doesn’t mean “sinful”? It means extravagant. Wasteful. Lavish. I guess I didn’t know that until well into my adulthood. The kid in the story certainly exemplifies the concept quite well.
But do you ever wonder why that father acquiesced to his son’s request for the early payout on his inheritance? Maybe I just don’t know the Jewish custom back in that day, or maybe it isn’t relevant to the point Jesus was trying to make, because here’s the thing:
An inheritance obtained too early in life
is not a blessing in the end.
This kid was in no way ready to handle his inheritance wisely. His father had to know that, but handed over his intended wealth anyway and, well, we know the end result…something about trading T-bone steaks for empty corncobs.
Recent brain studies are telling us more about the frontal lobe of the human brain; in particular, how this part of our brain (which determines good judgment, actions/consequences, as well as being the reasonable brakes on otherwise impulsive emotions) does not fully mature—are you ready for this one?—until early to mid-twenties.
I wonder how long it takes my spiritual frontal lobe to mature?
Here’s an example: I heard a pastor say, (see? I really do listen!), that many times God intentionally withholds His blessing because we’re not ready to use it properly. That this withholding is, in fact, God’s discipline preparing us to handle the blessing in the most sustainable way, in the way which produces the highest return to bless others and build His kingdom.
Maybe instead of asking for blessing, I need to pray for disciplined maturity. I think somehow the blessing will naturally follow.
Proverbs 20:21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.