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In Between Times 8.2: Importance


Issue 350

Figuring out what’s important to you

What’s the most important piece of work you have ever done? You may look at the piece of work that made the most money, affected the most people or perhaps that you enjoyed the most. Of course, you may be well aware that you have not yet done the most important piece of work in your life, especially if you are in your early years. Your answer to that question will come, then, either as a memory, a reflection, a hope or an ambition or, if you are currently doing that piece of work, a description.

Your answer will also reveal a lot about yourself since it will tell you of your values, your priorities and your dreams. To answer the question you may expand the normal meaning of the word ‘work’, since personal journeys are often seen as top of the list. So the raising of a family could get your vote – nevertheless, work is still a good word to describe that task. Strange though it may seem, as we continue to look at the ‘in between’ time from the end of the Old to the beginning of the New Testament, this is the exact question which will help you understand what is going on. Even stranger is that the question needs to be applied to God himself for you to capture your learning. For it is in this Intertestamental Period (ITP from now on) that God is working on the final phases of his most important piece of work.

A project conceived in the infinite past is now reaching crucial stages as God configures his world for the arrival of his Son. It is a timeless project to be cradled in the thirty-three year expression of humanity and an explosion of activity. What you see in the ITP are the finishing touches of the preparation, the last laying of the foundation stones and the final assembly of the architecture within which this project will flourish.

If you prefer to change the metaphor, this is the bringing together of the ingredients in order to create the nurturing environment. The ITP becomes a womb out of which this vibrant life will emerge. Your job and mine is to see what the worker had in mind as he painstakingly completed the preparation phase.

We will look at the details of the ingredients over the next few weeks. First, a few thoughts for this week:

Preparation itself is valid in its own right. The concentrated preparation we can observe in the ITP, endorses the validity of thorough preparation as an activity. We have all suffered under the sound of a poorly prepared talk and delighted in a well prepared one. The principle of preparation is obvious in trades, professions and business. Whether you are preparing a surface to paint or for a meeting, the point here is not to despise or minimise preparation; not to rush it, nor to devalue it in favour of charisma or flair.

You may be living in a prolonged preparation time in your life. The preparation may take longer than that for which you are preparing. The challenge is to embrace, not despise it. Secondly, notice that this preparation was for the most important piece of work and that work was to be done by God himself. In the form of his only Son, this was a job that would not be given to anyone else. So preparation in this context is the present you, helping the future you to do, and be, what is necessary.

Thirdly, the environment is bathed in love. This work was motivated by love, it was literally a labour of love. Using all the senses of love, this work would be established. It is a love story unfolding; it is to be done lovingly; it will, and is, something which God wants, desires, and loves to do.

If you can’t see the love in the work you are considering to be important, you will need to review. Love will always be there, permeating anything of real value and importance. Remember, this ‘in between’ time will end with a birth – they often do, authentic birth always comes out of love.


Hebrews 1:1-2

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

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Series: In Between Times
Module: 7
Season: -
Daily Guide: No

Tags: birth, important, in-between, love, preparation, prioritising, significant, values

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Geoff Shattock

© Copyright 2022 Geoff Shattock

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