Work in Progress

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

My husband Bill appreciates fine art, and in the cities we are privileged to visit he quickly finds his way to their art museums. Many years ago, he spent half a day in the Hermitage in St Petersburg sitting in front of Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” This inspiring painting depicts the Biblical account of the compassionate father welcoming home his wayward son and is widely considered to be one of Rembrandt’s finest works of art.

Since the original was not an option, the kids and I decided to secretly purchase a decent copy online. It arrived from New Zealand in a cardboard tube and did not disappoint. We framed it in exquisite mahogany wood and presented it to him on Christmas morning. He was thrilled! Bill still regards it as one of the best presents he ever received, and it hangs beside his office door today.

The walls of our home are graced with other beautiful artwork. None of them are originals that are worth much, if anything at all, but we enjoy the warmth and charm they bring to our home. However, we do own several first editions we consider to be invaluable! They are hung in the most prominent place of all – the refrigerator door! That’s the place of distinction highlighting our grandchildren’s work!

Recently our 11-year-old granddaughter Gracie painted a water color of a solid tree with vibrant greens and browns. She took great pains to make certain it was close to perfect. From our perspective, it was absolutely flawless.

Later in the week, our four-year-old grandson, Joshy, walked through our front door and immediately handed Bill a coloring page printed with a gigantic kite that held crayon scribbles in some areas and blank patches in others.

“I made this for you, Papa,” he said. “I left some places white so you could finish it!” Within a few moments, we taped Joshy’s masterpiece to the refrigerator door as well.

Bill was genuinely touched by what our grandson had said and later shared the wisdom contained in that little boy’s statement. Each one of us who belong to Jesus Christ are a work of art in progress. Most of us have lots of blank places that still need filling in. One of our appeals to our Father should be to ask him to complete the work he has begun in us, to take us from where we are at present to where he wants us to be.

God calls us to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Why? For us to recognize that our brothers and sisters are all unfinished canvases that he is still in the process of completing. As we lift up our scribbled life to him and beg him to make something brilliant out of it, we are to patiently extend that same grace to others.

Our Father would be pleased with that sort of beauty!

Elizabeth A Mitchell

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1 Comment

  1. Melissa A Pierce

    Hi Elizabeth! I am enjoying your blog so much! Please tell Bill that Henri Nouwen’s book “The Return of the Prodigal Son” was so moving to me, that I purchased an inexpensive copy and framed it. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy it so much.


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