19th January 2019

The Prodigal Daughter

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
Luke 15:32 (NRSV)

Mary (not her real name) was hired to shake things up in the company. The CEO felt that she would help foster change. Well, I can confirm that she certainly shook things up. After making an error, she tried to cover up—by blaming me! I remember the day well. I found myself under the fierce grilling of the Finance Director.

I was blessed that day as I had an email that showed the truth about the situation. Alas, I later found out that Mary saved her skin by blaming a member of her own team, claiming that they had ‘misled’ her about my involvement. Yet, I learned an important lesson: never trust Mary. However, Mary learned nothing as she continued with her style of ‘shaking things up.’ As a result, she made many enemies.

Some months later, I saw Mary at a conference. To my dismay, she appeared to be heading towards me. But before I could find a quick exit, a strange thing happened. She seemed to be transformed in my eyes until she looked like a toddler, truly looking alone and lost in the crowd. We exchanged a few pleasant words and she then carried on. I continued to still see her as the “lost toddler.” I understood clearly what God was saying to me. Mary was just as much a child of God as me. She just didn’t know it. Mary had gone to the far place, just like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-13, doing what she wanted. The Holy Spirit had not yet called her back to the waiting arms of her Father (verse 26).

Another year passed before a new CEO finally sacked Mary. She had tried to harm my career, but at this point I felt nothing but genuine sorrow for Mary. There she was, still in the far place, unaware of the harm that she had caused herself and others. The Father has sent His Son to rescue us all from the far place, but the Holy Spirit needs to open our eyes to this. Why my eyes have been opened, and why Mary’s are still closed, I do not know. But my ‘vision’ at the conference told me that God loves her just as much as he loves me.

I would love to be there when Mary finds this out, whenever this will be. The mystery of the timing of our calling is in the Father’s heart. Maybe I will be there, maybe not. But it is good to be reminded that Jesus died for my enemies too. I hope that one day Mary will find herself at her homecoming party, hosted by her Father. And I hope I will be in there partying too. After all, why not rejoice in the day that another sinner repents? (See Luke 15:7, 10 & 32).

Father, thank you that you love us all, even our enemies! Open our hearts to receive your desire, that all humanity will receive the wonderful salvation made available through your Son. We ask this in your Son’s name, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

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