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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Work of God At the End-Time # 8

The Importance of Vision

Luke 2:25-38

We are noting in our earlier meditation that Simeon embodies all that relates to an end-time, and that in an end-time a peculiar set of conditions arises. On the one side, there is a sense of disintegration with regard to what has been, and on the other hand a sense of something pending, a new situation and a new set of conditions coming, with certain very definite and serious issues arising in the meantime. Firstly, it may be asked, how much of all that has been is going to survive and be carried on into the new situation? - for a great stripping is taking place, a great sifting of the spiritual as over against the temporal, even in relation to the things of God. Or (to come to the figure here of Simeon taking in his arms the child Jesus) how much of the Lord have we really got in hand in a time of transition and of breakup and of pending new conditions? On the other hand, how much of all that is associated with the Lord is after all of that external order and system which is purely earthly and transitory, temporal, the framework, the mold of things? These are very important questions and issues, and they are all forced in at a time when things are about to change. Then very grave strain and pressure and conflict comes into the atmosphere. It is as though something is about to be brought forth which stirs the enemy to his utmost resistance, oppression and frustration, so much so that at such a time the whole fabric of the spiritual life is under strain and test, and it would be much easier to give up or take some line of less resistance. These are things which belong to an end-time, and we were noting that there is no doubt that we are in such a time today. That is the significance of this very hour. Things are going to change radically, one order is going to pass and another to come in. But amidst this sifting ordeal today, there can be, and should be, that which answers to the case of Simeon, who was the embodiment firstly of all the spiritual values that had been, and then of the breakup of all that was not spiritual and permanent, being but a framework of things in the past dispensation; and further, the embodiment of the principles and intrinsic values of what was coming. That is very briefly and broadly what occupied us in our previous meditation.

Simeon Had Vision

But now we are going to note one dominant factor about Simeon as representing this end-time, transition period. This dominant factor, which is also a dominant necessity, is contained in the one word "vision." Although Simeon and Anna were so old, they had vision; which meant that, although they were at an end of one phase and naturally might just have closed down, and so an end has come to everything, they had instead of a new beginning in their hands, something more ahead than ever had been before. That matter of vision is of tremendous, of superlative, importance, for, as we are going to see more fully, these two people embody the whole principle of service to God at a most critical time in the development of His interests. Service will only be of a transient character and very limited in its value and range if there is no vision: it will be something that is being done for itself and largely as an end in itself, and that is not adequate. Service must have a far greater range of significance than that just doing a thing, something done for the time, with the one concerned seeing nothing beyond the thing with which he is immediately occupied. That means limitation, transience, poverty in service. Vision always carries forward beyond the present, and adds in something, so that what is being done contains more than itself in time and in value.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9 - (The Effect of Vision)

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