The parable of the Prodigal Son is about two sons—one who comes to the end of his own resources, and one who would not claim his father’s resources. The parable is also about the father’s unconditional love and the provisions in his home.
The younger son went to his father and said, “Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” (Luke 15:12). The portion he received—and then wasted—represents his own interests: his talents, his abilities, all the things he used to face life and all its problems. He said, “I have intelligence, good wits, a good background. I can go out and do it on my own!”
The younger son’s attitude describes many Christians today. Yet, when things get hard how soon we come to the end of our own resources! How quickly we spend all that we have within ourselves! We can figure our way out of some problems and find inner strength for some trials, but a time comes when famine strikes the soul!
You come to the end of yourself, not knowing which way to turn. Your friends can’t help you. You are left empty, hurting, with nothing left inside to draw upon. You are spent—all your fight is gone! All you have left are fear, depression, emptiness, hopelessness.
Are you still hanging around the devil’s pigpen, wallowing in emptiness, starving to death? That is what happened to the Prodigal Son. There was nothing left in him to draw upon! He had exhausted all his own resources and he realized where all his self-reliance had brought him. But what was it that finally brought him to himself? It was when he remembered all the abundant provisions in his father’s house! He said, “I’m starving here. But in my father’s house there is bread enough to spare!” He decided then to go back and appropriate his father’s bountiful provisions!
There is not one word in this parable that indicates the Prodigal came back because of love for his father. True, he was repentant; in fact, he fell on his knees, crying, “Father, I’m sorry! I’ve sinned against you and against God. I’m not worthy to come into your house,” but he never said, “Father, I came back because I love you!”
What is revealed here is that the love of God to us is without strings; it is not dependent upon our loving Him. The truth is, He loved us even when we were far away from Him in our hearts. That is unconditional love!