We’re currently building a two-storey structure on the side of Glyndley Manor to house a new lift, so ambient disabled people can get to our first-floor conference room. This has been going on for some time, and we’ve been delighted to watch the progress. First the foundations were built, then the steel frame, and finally the outside walls and glass sides. At last we have a dry, and reasonably weather-tight, structure standing against the side wall. Now we can see the reality of what was once just a drawing.
However something’s missing: the lift. Due to financial constraints work has had to slow down until more money is forthcoming. We can’t install the very thing which is the whole purpose behind the work. We can walk round the outside and say good things about the look of the building, or we can look inside and compliment the builders on their work. But until the lift is installed it remains a purposeless, empty shell.
I wonder if that was how the Israelites felt when they’d finished the ornate tent called the Tabernacle, which we read of in the later chapters of Exodus. Many people were involved in the construction, men of skill and dedication and Spirit. Much money was lavished on the project and only the best materials were used. In verse 33 of chapter 40 finally we read that Moses finished the work. But then what?
Unless the Lord came and filled the Tabernacle it was pointless, simply a challenging exercise in craftsmanship. It was merely something to do, albeit under God’s direction, whilst spending time in the desert: just an empty tent.
How much of what we do for God remains empty because we don’t release it to be filled with the glory of God? I don’t expect Moses intended to keep God out of the Tabernacle – how could he? Yet sometimes we’re so busy building a house for God we forget to give him the chance to come and inhabit it. Scripture reminds us that building without the Lord is a useless effort (Psalm 127:1). Scripture also says we are the temple of God in which He is to dwell (1 Corinthians 3:16). What a shame if the time and effort we put into being good stewards, worthy workers, effective leaders and church builders, or simply just good Christians, results in a fine-looking structure, but with no-one at home. Perhaps we get so focussed on the process that we forget to allow the glory of God to come and fill what we have worked so hard on.
Is there anyone at home in your work for God today?
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for choosing to use me in carrying out Your purposes here on earth. Please help me not to become so engrossed in the process that I forget to see the Person who intends to occupy my life and work. Amen.
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