The fruit in my parents’ cherry tree weighs the branches almost to their breaking point. The amount of fruit this tree produces is incredible. It is the most giving fruit tree I have ever seen in my life. When we lived close to my parents, my kids would run to this tree, climb it and begin eating cherries as fast as they could get their hands to their mouths. Whatever was not consumed by birds, or my kids, was given to other families by the bucket loads. Often, there was so much fruit, that baskets worth would just fall to the ground, spoiling.
Several months ago, I was able to return back to my parents’ home from Houston and stand in the yard with my mom. We looked at the bounty from this tree. It truly is so giving, that it can be overwhelming. My mind immediately began to wander and do what my brain does. I started to think of spiritual applications. I thought about this tree being truly prodigal.
Most of us tend to associate the word prodigal with a runaway. We always label the story from Luke 15 about the son that spends the father’s inheritance as “the prodigal son.” The story depicts a son that went off to a distant land and spent all of his money on wild living, only to end up homeless, broke and devastated by his poor choices.
Several months ago, I read an incredible book by Timothy Keller entitled The Prodigal God. When you look at the term prodigal, it means to be recklessly extravagant and having spent everything. Yes, the term applies to the young man in the Scriptures who was reckless and spent all of his wealth, but when I look at Jesus, I cannot help but think He too is prodigal.
Jesus spent everything, one could say almost recklessly, in saving man. He was so incredibly generous and gave all that He had to provide a way back to our Heavenly Father. The story in Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of a prodigal son, but upon deeper examination we see a prodigal father.
“My son, everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)
God is so much like that cherry tree! He has given to us so much more than we could ever need. He provides for us with such great abundance that it seems prodigal. Salvation alone gives us a picture of this unending, extravagant love that God has for you and me. I need to live more like my kids and just climb into the tree and enjoy the fruit from my Prodigal Father.