Thursday, February 16, 2012

Again, With the Wait?

Again, with the wait? What's this all about? Why, so many times this week, have I heard, "Wait."? Perhaps I'm missing something. (As I write this, I recognize I start many of my pieces this way. Hmmm? What am I really missing?)

At the end of his time on earth, Jesus instructs his people to move out, mobilize, carry this message of repentance and baptism to all people's near and far (Matthew 28:18-20, MSG).  I can't imagine a more motivated group of disciples. They had seen the Risen Christ! They knew it all to be true. They recognized all of their time traveling and ministering with Him was preparation for this command. Jesus said this was God's message to them and He would be with them all the way. "Let's hike up our robes and go!"

But then they hear Jesus saying, "Wait, on no account are you to leave Jerusalem" (Acts 1:4) . I'm trying to reconcile their minds at this time. They had a story of love and deliverance to tell. They had been commanded and given authority to go. Some may have already given up their livelihoods, said goodbye to their family, put the granola and olive oil in the rucksack and were ready to head out. But now, "Wait?" "For another baptism?"

I don't think it was unusual for them to be asked/told to wait. Several instances are recorded where Jesus said to wait while he went away to pray. They knew the scriptures which would have included David's reminder in Psalm 27:14:
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

So, how did they wait? The only cue we have is that they were "together in one place" (Acts 2:1). I am willing to wager they were eating together and worshiping together. After all, it was the Feast of Pentecost. But, how long they waited, how they spent the time, what Scriptures they read, what stories were reminisced, and so on, all unknown. Did God wait until they were all in one place and "all of one mind"? We only know they obeyed the second command and waited for the One Jesus promised.

And they all received the same blessing! The baptism of the Holy Spirit!

How often do we seek to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) without seeking the fulfillment of, in my opinion, the promise of the Holy Spirit in our life? I know I am a Type A kind of guy. Give me a command; give me a task and off I go. This is a time of waiting for me, but am I spending it anticipating and growing or just waiting?

How are our churches any different? We struggle with the near and far command and tend to disregard the wait command. We have factions on both sides competing for hearts, minds and dollars. Can we do both at once or are they mutually exclusive? Can we go and wait? Can we serve and seek? Can we bless and be blessed? After all, the harvest is ready!

Now, here's the cop-out. The answer is not clear to me. I only know they waited...together. They received the promised presence of the power of God to fulfill the Great Commission...together. Once that happened, there was no holding a single one of them back!

The British author James Stalker wrote, "Waiting is a common instrument of providential discipline for those to whom exceptional work has been appointed." So, I return to David: "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Not quitting; but seeking, serving, and waiting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done brother! May in your waiting the voice of God be clear and distinct so you can move forward with a stronger faith in His direction for you.

11:12 PM  

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