We do a lot of sitting and waiting. Thankfully, the advent of modern technology has given birth to such things as online mobile apps, Facebook creeping, and of course Angry Birds. So while we wait, we can be distracted, we can take our mind off the waiting.
Most of the time I hate waiting. Waiting in line, waiting for a date, waiting in the drive through, it can just get boring (right now I have been waiting, since 2003 I might add, for the new Blink 182 CD out on September 26th). We spend a lot of our lives waiting for things.
I am not taking simply about waiting in line at Starbucks, I am talking about waiting for life to happen. You start middle school and just wait until you can get to high school, start high school and wait for your license, get your license and wait to get to college, get to college and wait to get a job, get a job and wait to get married, get married and wait to have kids… you get the picture.
Sometimes we wait so much that I think we actually waste life waiting. I know a lot of people like this, “I will just slow down work when I get that promotion,” “I will just get married when I get enough money,” (guilty) I will actually do, just after I wait. Its as if our life motto is alongside the lyrics of a song I like, “I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”
I love the story of the calling of the first disciples in the latter part of Matthew 4. Jesus, presumably an average looking young Middle Eastern man (immediately debunking 2 myths that Jesus did not often glow and float off the ground, nor did he look like a middle aged Swedish man) walks on the shoreline and came alongside two men who were fishing in their boats. Now these guys were not novice fisherman; they didn’t skip church on Sunday so they could go have a relaxing day fishing at the lake, these guys were true fisherman. It was their craft; it was how they made their living.
In any case, in the story we read, Jesus calls to them “come follow me,” and the guys actually do it.
So often I have heard, and preached, this story as, “and Jesus is doing the same to each one of you, give your life to him, follow him… etc.” I believe that message is true, but recently I wonder if a greater truth about God is unfolded here.
Ask yourself this, what if Simon and Andrew (the first two men in the boat) said, “Thanks for the offer, and we really were considering becoming pastors, but we are waiting till we make enough money. But then we will be right behind you.” That would be a terrible story wouldn’t it?
The next two guys Jesus comes across are fishing with their dad. Again they were career fishermen; perhaps they were even one day going to take over dad’s fishing business. Jesus called likewise to them and again they, “immediately” left their father and their boat and followed him.
I feel like culture (and all too often, the church) preaches a message that life is about waiting… Wait until your older, wait until you learn more and are more qualified, wait until you have enough money to fall back on, wait until you are established, wait…
Waiting on our plan is our attempt to kill God’s plan for us.
Relive again with me the story in Matthew 4. Here’s Jesus walking past the boats and he says, “hey guys, I see a lot of potential in you, but you are pretty young to follow me, give it some time, wait on it a little bit.” These guys would have perhaps remained average fisherman. Instead, they lead one of the greatest revolutions of love, rooted in and following Christ that changed the face of the entire world, 2,000 years later. How many of you have been to Simon’s fish market lately? It doesn’t exist.
God doesn’t want us to wait. God wants us now.
When I was graduating from high school, two great friends and mentors pulled me aside individually. At different times they told me that they saw great potential to me and believed that God was calling me into ministry. Now I greatly looked up to these guys, both pastors, and thought the world of their insight. On this occasion however I was not to keen on what it meant to give up my life to do ministry work.
I replied, “thanks, but I want to go to school and get a degree that will make me some money, that way if ministry doesn’t work out, I will have a fall back.” Yes I know realize that my comment toward how I perceived their income was likely offensive however they handled it with grace.
It wasn’t too long after the begging of my freshman year in college I realized this, if God has a plan for my life, I don’t need a fallback plan. I have never regretted transferring to a lesser known school, working and going to school simultaneously, and working at the my church which I love.
The four men in the boats that day could have stayed behind, said thanks Jesus, I am going to wait on it, I am going to hold back, maybe latter, just not now, now, things are OK. I don’t want to mess with that.
Our God loves to mess with the OK. He loves to show us his plan, and how it is so much better than OK. What happens when we wait is we look towards a future and miss the present. We value more of what can happen then than what is happening now.
What in your life is God calling you to now? It doesn’t have to be ministry (it likely isn’t) but what is God calling you to do that is bigger than what you are waiting on? Maybe you have felt like a career change is in order, maybe its time to start putting your family first, maybe its time to abandon popularity and start seeking those who are on the outskirts of your social circle…
I have no idea what it is, but I am pretty sure that he is not calling you to wait around for something better. A life guiding principle I learned when I was 19 is that it doesn’t get better than God’s plan, and his plan starts now, our God a God who is living, and active now.
Life isn’t about fishing, it is about getting out of the boat to a calling greater than you can imagine… (that is unless you are being called to be a fisherman, then get in the boat)