I met him when I was a youth pastor. He was a handsome boy with a gregarious personality, but I could tell something was not right. I knew it on one of the first youth trips I went on with him. I don’t remember a lot that happened, but I just remember that, when we got back pretty late and we were waiting for his parents to pick him up, I saw him in the parking lot throwing something. Thinking it might be rocks and that he might bust out a windshield or a street lamp, walked over to him and asked him what he was throwing. He said, “I’m throwing quarters.”
Well, that got my attention! It was dark. It wasn’t like he could even see where they were so that he could pick them up, he was just standing there in the parking lot throwing money away because he just felt like it. That’s the attitude of a prodigal: He’s a waster. His philosophy is if I want to do it, I’m gonna do it, and you can’t stop me.
By the way, though I didn’t know him that night, I got to know him very well. Throwing quarters wasn’t his greatest vice. By the time he quit school at 16, he had already been in trouble with the law. He was one of the few teenagers I ever pastored who ended up in jail. That’s what happens to prodigals. They stray because they are selfish, shortsighted, separated and sensual.