Careful examination the prodigal’s investment of inheritance shows interesting insights into the story Jesus told about inheritance. The principles of inheritance in Luke 15, the lost and found department of the kingdom, reveal the gravity of loss and restoration that occur in spiritual inheritance between spiritual generations.
Specifically, the prodigal is so named by us because of what the words Jesus used to describe his behavior. The word “prodigal” does not occur. The behavior of the rebellious son is the source of this moniker. From the phrase, “wasted his substance in riotous living” we uncover Jesus’ insight on the spiritual problem. “Wasted” is the same word used to describe part of the harvest process of winnowing, separating husks from wheat, as John described Messiah’s fire baptism: “His fan is in His hand and He will completely cleanse His floor, gathering grain into bins and burning chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The prodigal produced false harvest behavior. Instead of his behavior preparing inheritance for wealth and further production and increase, his prepared his inheritance with living that wasted it. No “added value” came from his behaviors. No increase or security was produced. When finished, the seed that should have produced another generation of multiplication simply went into the hands of those with no right to the inheritance. The prodigal purchase things that don’t last with things intended to increase in one spiritual generation and pass to the next in greater abundance.
He did all this in a far country, out of position, attempting to invest in soil never intended for his seed.
The word from which we get prodigal occurs only once in Scripture in this form. It refers to wasteful living because it produces no increase. One generation simply uses up what they received from the previous generation as their portion.
In other words, when great revival comes to the called together assembly and the next spiritual generation receives it, the revival should increase. But once revival comes, the next generation tends to see their inheritance as something to which they are entitled by call, by name, by proximity. The elder brother retains this dimension in his thinking even though he never leaves home. Once the prodigal generation receives the spiritual momentum of revival, they simply invest it in making their own house bigger instead of seeding into good ground of increase for the next generation. In this way, the next generation after great revival tends to build dead monuments instead of revival children. The prodigal ends up thinking of the “good ole days” just as we do when we invest the momentum of great revival in ourselves instead of increasing its impartation toward the purpose and strategy of God for releasing revival in the first place.
The prodigal son has a father. He is not fatherless. Perhaps the father is as guilty of waste as the son for giving him what the son demanded. Sons don’t make demands because they see themselves as entitled. Inheritance involves someone else’s stuff, not our own! We receive it as a trust, not a right. The inheritance is not there for us to do with it as we wish. Inheritance has purpose. Purpose!
Giving inheritance to sons because they demand it means you have wasted both the inheritance and its purpose.