Friday, January 19, 2007

The Prodigal: An Extravagant Waster

In the book the "Millionaire Next Door," the author expounds what he discovered in his research about who is the average millionaire in the USA. His findings surprise you, the average millionaire are in their 50's, married, with no more than 3 children, runs a small business, dresses casually, and drives a pickup truck. In his next book, "The Millionaire Mind," the same author, uncovers what happens with the fortune the millionaire amasses for up to three generations. The first generation accumulates wealth; his children become highly paid professionals, used to a high maintenance lifestyle. They are used to having and not having to struggle for it, they become prodigal children. They can be wasteful and extravagant. The third generation usually squanders what is left of the fortune, which leaves them with nothing.

As you may have noticed above, I defined prodigal as wasteful or extravagant. This is the dictionary definition. The term prodigal is used in the Bible to name one of the two children of the landowner of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The wayward one takes all the money and wastes it in an extravagant lifestyle. He apparently fits the findings of the above mentioned book; and, so does Solomon. If we remember, David prepared everything so that Solomon's tenure as King would be with as little problem as possible. David prepared materials for the temple and gave Solomon some heartfelt advice before death (1 Chronicles 17, 1 King 2:1-9). Solomon enjoyed what his father worked hard to accumulate.

Yes, Solomon seems to speak this in a very ironic tone. We read in Ecclesiastes 2:17-19,

17Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
18Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
19And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

Perhaps, Solomon forgot or maybe he wanted others to be warned of the danger of taking for granted what others leave us as an inheritance.

We are also prodigal children, as Solomon was. We waste and squander what God has given us. Talents, and gifts and blessings come to mind, however there is something more precious that we throw away. We sell and throw away our birth right in Christ. We throw away our Salvation, purchased by the blood of Christ, when we waste this life in extravagant pursuits of sinfulness and self gratification. With it we throw away His Righteousness, His love, and His sanctification. This in turn makes us throw away eternal life.

Oh, that God may give us an opportunity to see our sinfulness, and that we may heed to Him. That we may buy from Him eye salve to see ourselves as we truly are, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked". Furthermore, that we may buy from Him "white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." Finally, that we may buy from Him, "gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich" (Revelation 3: 17:18).
Raul Diaz

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