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My word for the year is Prodigal; it means wasteful extravagance. So often I tend to extremes. I can be very wasteful if I am not careful, like the younger brother in Luke 15:11-32. But if I am too careful, I end up stingy and mean, like the older brother. I am still trying to find out what it feels like to live in the middle, balancing self-discipline with flexibility, good stewardship with generosity…because let’s face it, the real hero of the Parable of the Prodigal Son is the the father.
The forgiveness of the father seemed an extravagance to the older brother…he felt the father’s generosity was wasted on the younger brother. The father was prodigal too.
This year I want to be the kind of prodigal that is lavish and generous with others, instead of myself. When we are overly generous with ourselves we lean toward the original meaning of prodigal. Timothy warned that believers must guard against this:
There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NKJV).
But when we can relinquish our me-first ways, opting to be magnanimous, generous, extravagant with our love…it looks like this:
…patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, free of pride. Unwilling to dishonor others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs, not delighting in evil but rejoicing with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
I think this year I want to learn how to live loud, love the life I have, open my heart, breathe more deeply, smile and laugh more, say “yes” first. I say I want to learn because these ways are not my normal.
I want to be PRODIGAL—not wasteful—just extravagant in all ways that build others up and honor the Lord.