In 2002, Alan Jackson released his hit Work in Progress. In this song, Jackson bemoans his imperfections in his relationship with his significant other and begs her to understand that he is a work in progress.
In the refrain, he sings:
I even asked God to try to help me
He looked down from Heaven and said to tell you please
Just be patient, I’m a work in progress
Oh honey just be patient now
I’m a work in progress
Rightly celebrating the Advent of Preparation means that I recognize and celebrate the fact that I’m a work in progress. I know I’m a work in progress. A lot of people know I’m a work in progress.
But being a work in progress often isn’t the issue for most Christians. Its what I’m a work in progress for that is often misunderstood.
When I think about being a work in progress, one of the stories that comes to my mind is the story about how the stones used in the construction of Solomon’s Temple were cut and chiseled to exact dimensions at the quarry and then hauled to the temple mount site, where they were silently slid into position (1 Kings 6).
The stone was not being cut and chiseled so that it could be the best stone possible sitting in the quarry. It was not being refined for the purpose of fulfilling some grand work in the quarry. All the chiseling in the quarry actually had very little to do with the quarry.
The quarry was the place of preparation. The stone was being prepared for life in the temple.
The reminds me of the Christian life. This life is the quarry. We are the stones.
According to Peter, we are the living stones being be built into a spiritual house. As we live this life, we are being chiseled and refined, as every unnecessary and harmful thing is chipped away.
This is why we can be joyful when we go through various trials. These trials, as we endure them patiently, are what God is using to shape and form us into Christian maturity, according to James.
The good news of preparation is that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to set your own value. You don’t have to let anything in this life determine your value. You don’t have to strive for an idea that someone else has determined you should be living up to. You’re free from that. You’re free to prepare. You’re free to be prepared for something far greater than anything here.
Let the Master Builder do His thing.
Everyone in Christ is work in progress.