Lavished Love

“Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children” (1 John 3:1a).

Don’t rush past this like I’ve done all these years. Take it in slowly and savor what you’re reading.

This Father, the King of the Universe, has LAVISHED his love on us.

I can’t help but thinking of a chapter I read in a book called The Autobiography of God by Lloyd John Ogilvie. The very first chapter is called The Prodigal God, about the parable of the prodigal son.

In it, Ogilvie defines prodigality as that of being extravagant, excessive, and wasteful. He says the character in that parable that best fits the description of prodigal is the father.

The father is the one who had every right after his son left home to hold a mock funeral and to live as though he had only one son. He could very well have written his son off the way his son had written him off.

But that’s not what happened.

I imagine that father waited every day in the same spot on that front porch, looking out into the horizon for any sign of his son.

I know for a fact that the father RAN (something dignified men NEVER did back in that day and age). The father fell on his son’s neck and lavished him with fatherly kisses and affection.

This was my son who was dead, he said, and is now alive.

That’s the picture of the extravagant kind of love the Heavenly Father lavishes on us. It’s that excessive. It’s that wasteful when you consider how many of us ignore it or take it for granted (and I am one of those).

The Father is running after you, not to scold or punish you, but to envelop you in His arms and tell you right now that He loves you just the way you are, soot-covered, shame-covered, sin-covered, but He in His love refuses to leave you the way He found you.

He wants you to be living out of the full knowledge that you are a son, a daughter, a child of God.



Both sermons I heard today touched on the parable on the Prodigal son. I can think of no better story that really illustrates the scandalous nature of God’s love for His children.

In fact, the parable could more accurately be called The Prodigal God, since the word prodigal means “characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure” or “recklessly spendthrift” (according to Merriam-Webster). God’s love is both.

It’s prodigal that God paid way too high a price for me with His Son Jesus. It’s prodigal that Jesus didn’t shed some or most of His blood, but all of it for me. It’s way more than I or anyone else deserves.

There’s a fantastic book that’s been out of print for years called The Autobiography of God by Lloyd John Ogilvie. He has a chapter on “The Prodigal God” that impacted me when I read it the first time and still comes to mind every time I hear the Prodigal Son story.

It was shocking to the hearers of the parable the way the father in the story let the younger son have his share. For the son to ask for it while the father was still living was to say in essence, “Drop dead!” and show the utmost comtempt for him.

Even more scandalous was how the father not only received his son at the end of the story, but how he ran to him and threw his arms around him and kissed him. Well-respected men in that day didn’t run. It was not considered dignified. But this father wasn’t about to wait one more second for his son who was coming home.

The Cross is so much more shocking and scandalous than we normally paint it in our sanitized sermons on the subject. By the time Jesus got to the cross, He was barely recognizable as human.

That’s the kind of scandalous, prodigal love God has for those of his prodigal children, whether we rebel in a far country or at home. Honestly, the far country doesn’t have to be geographically distant. It can be relational distance, too.

So if you have experienced radigal grace and forgiveness, take time today to express your gratitude for this prodigal God whose prodigal love for us is the reason we are forgiven and free.