For my sabbatical I spent two weeks with my family at a ski resort in France. Being summer it had a very different feel to its winter atmosphere but in our chalet, half way up the valley, we had a wonderful view of village life and an excellent base for family activities. One of the activities taking place in the village was the upgrade of the ski lifts. Apparently, an old four-person chairlift was being replaced by an eight-person gondola (presumably to enhance the ski season trade). Over the days I observed the activities taking place on the building site. A gang of workers were onsite, the foundations had been laid and while I was there I saw that and some drove the diggers and machinery, one man operated the small crane, while others grafted and pieced together the pre-formed concrete panels and metalwork into place. I have know how good they were at their job and while the final product will probably give a clue the lives of all those who ride the gondola will be at stake. There must have been plans for the job, but I never viewed them, there was surely an architect but I never met her. Yet slowly and surely the undertaking grew and (presumably) would be finished by winter time. I reflected on the similarities with my sabbatical. I was experiencing a new work in my life over a three month period, building on a firm foundation as new understanding and new thoughts were coming to me as I read the bible and other books, watched online talks and chatted to friends and colleagues over the period of three months. My heavenly Father had a plan and he was the architect overseeing progress. But the builders were many and varied: Luther, Augustine, Keller, Mohler, Chalke, Brown, Redfern, my family, my church, my friends and of course, Holy Spirit. Each were adding something of their skill and expertise to the construction and development of my understanding. Some of them may not be the best in their field or trade, but each were contributing to the work in progress in my life. Only the finished result will tell - but that end date will not be the day I come back to work but the day I stand before my creator and judge.
Now a similar work can take place in every believer. They need not have a sabbatical to accomplish that, and they certainly don’t have to be a leader or have a specific role in the church. They simply need to be open to the work of God’s Spirit to teach them. The apostle Paul has an encouraging word for everyone in the church, which is this
we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 15)
You and I were not made to stay the same, but to grow more mature with every passing day, aided by our situation, others who can influence us, and God’s Holy Spirit. Better, still, we have a promise that we will be the perfect, finished article when we stand before our heavenly Father. So let’s partner with Him and assist in that progress and seek to be transformed.