In Jesus’ parable of the two sons and the inheritance, one son seems to be happy to waste money on a good time with mates and the other seems to be stingy. In a few translations, the younger son is said to have wasted his half of his father’s estate in “prodigal living.” Some others say “riotous living.”
Prodigal means insanely generous or wasteful. It doesn’t mean wandering or hiding or rebelling. Popular use applies it to any older child who is out of their parents’ control, and usually out of their home. A correct example, though, might be a foolish person in a bar shouting, “Bartender, a round of drinks for everybody on me!”
It might even look like Jesus feeding a few thousand people with so much food that each of the 12 had a basket full of the excess. Or maybe making between 120 & 180 gallons of the best wine ever on the earth for a party that had already had what the party planners had thought was going to be enough.
There was a failure on the part of the older son, who obediently stayed home, not to recognize that he owned half of his father’s estate almost immediately in the story. He also didn’t recognize that he could share some of it with his friends and it would be OK.
Somewhere between prodigal generosity and stinginess I think rests Kingdom generosity. It is a place where Jesus can tell me to bless someone with something I have, and I obey before counting how many I have.