MAKING GOD WAIT
February 1, 1997 Issue
by Barney Owens
People of the 20th Century have become accustomed to waiting. Lines are easily formed and delays are common. Major cities have highways that were but a dream during the lives of many of us, yet traffic jams are so common that panic does not arise when one is hindered from moving on a daily basis. Airlines (so it seems to me) are late more than they are on time. One can have an appointed time to see a doctor, but is less than shocked when the physician is running late. Department store lines compel us to expect somewhat of a wait. Even places of amusement require us to wait. I was recently told that a local amusement park had as much as a six hour wait for one ride which lasted only a few minutes.
Because of these, some people think nothing of being late, requiring others to wait for them. In my view it appears that some enjoy making others wait for them and dote on a cherished reputation. What does it matter if dinner is cold and others have to eat it that way, or if many are inconvenienced, they can wait.
However, there are some circumstances that one would never think of being late, or of making another wait. Some events of the day require one to be early to "get a good seat." Even the aforementioned "never early" people are on time. We wouldn't think of making the President of the United States, or even a Governor, wait for us. We would gladly arrive on time. Well, why the above title? Would anyone ever make God wait? No! you say? Read with me:
"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. And he said to another, follow me. But he said, LORD, SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, LORD, I will follow thee; LET ME FIRST GO and bid them farewell which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, no man having put his band to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:57-62 emp. BO).
Whatever other lessons may be found within these words, one can easily see these wanted to follow Jesus, but wished Him to wait until other things or persons were attended FIRST. They wanted God in his purposes for them to wait on them.
MAKING GOD WAIT FOR OUR LOVE
Who is there that is unaware of the love which God hath shown to man? As sinners He loved us to the point of doing for us what we are incapable of doing for ourselves Jesus, as the "Lamb of God," was provided as a sacrifice for our sins, opening the way of salvation by the forgiveness of sins. (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8; Jn 1:29).
Notice with me the following:
1. "And this is His commandment. That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ."...(I Jn 3:23). Believing on Christ is a command that must be obeyed.
2. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30) to change one's mind and alter the course of life is to be obeyed.
3. "...Who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." (II Jn. 7). Can a statement be more absolute? Confessing Christ is to be obeyed (Rom 10:9-10).
4. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." (Acts 10:48). Baptism being the dividing line between the church and the world must be obeyed unto salvation.
This writer is convinced that there are many who intend to show their love to God by complying with these commandments, yet for one reason or another, like the people of Luke 9, want God to wait on them, therefore make GOD WAIT.
MAKING GOD WAIT FOR OUR WORSHIP
It is in and by worship that we demonstrate our devotion to God, our respect for His majesty, awe of His power, enslavement to His love, and revelation for His being first in the entirety of our life. Jesus reminds us: "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." (Jn 4:24).
The disciples in the beginning of the church honored the teaching of the Apostles and gathered on the first day of the week "breaking bread" and other things in order to worship. (Acts 2:42).
"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto him, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7).
This assembling was not to be forsaken even when extreme circumstances prevailed. We read of the disciples in Jerusalem who were being persecuted; they were told not to forsake this assembling with the church.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb. 10:25).
Our times find disciples who would have that GOD WAIT while they work during the time others have gathered for worship, or have GOD WAIT while they are visiting with company, or have GOD WAIT because it has come time for their annual vacation, or have GOD WAIT because they feel somewhat bad having stayed up too late the previous night and getting up is such a hassle. Is it possible for a person to have the right attitude and place worship of the Most High, Holy, and ever to be Reverend God to such a place of inferiority?
On occasion, I have heard brethren discuss whether various reasons to miss the assembly would be acceptable, or, how many services one can miss before he is t(! "be overlooked" for public participation in the worship as a leader. Such flimflam never is revealed in the scripture, because in those days a person was willing to lay down his life rather than disobey God, therefore, it would have been silly for one to even think of missing an assembly of the disciples to worship for the reasons we think burden us. DON'T MAKE GOD WAIT DURING WORSHIP WHILE WE WHILE AWAY OUR TIME AT OTHER THINGS.
MAKING GOD WAIT FOR OUR LIBERALITY
Laying by in store on the first day of the week is an avenue of our worship to God, but it as well demonstrates where our heart really is. In fact, where we place our earthly treasure is where we have placed our heart. Jesus said: "For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." (Mt 6:21).
As disciples of the Lord, we are to care for the needy, and not fail to see that the richest blessing of all is presented to them, which is the gospel. Many who preach it are to be sent forth. This is accomplished by our liberality.
"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by Him in store. As God hath prospered Him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Again, every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: For God loveth a cheerful giver. (I Cor 16:2; II Cor 9:7).
How many are there who will give to nearly every cause more than to the Lord's? It might be the Heart Fund, Red Cross, Lung Association, Union dues. Or, it might be some amusements that are without merit or worth as far as eternity or salvation of one's self or others are concerned. Some spend more on a vacation than they give to the Lord's Cause in a given year. Is one's heart right, if such be the case? Really, where is a man's heart when his treasure is thus placed? Look above to what Jesus said, (Mt 6:21).
Why is it brethren and sisters (as well as some of you who right now plan someday to obey Christ), we will contend for one way of salvation, one church, one way of setting the Lord's table, one way of making melody to the Lord, one manner of gathering to be taught, yet ANY WAY OF "LAYING BY IN STORE?" We practice any way, any amount is all right. Fellowship will not be extended to those who alter the table, but it is to those who are misers with their giving.
Again, why is it that this is the last step in growth and we are tolerant? One can be in the body of Christ 20 or 50 years, it be a known fact he is covetous, and nothing is said or done. Can one MAKE GOD WAIT FOR LIBERALITY? Must GOD WAIT UNTIL WE DECIDE TO BE LIBERAL? Lift up your head, brother or sister, the Lord will judge his people, "for God loveth a cheerful giver."
Of all those whom we make wait-DON'T make God wait.
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