The sermon was on Matthew 25. It is the parable of the three men who received three differing amounts of talents from the master who was leaving on a trip. Rather than go down the path of talking about how we should wisely use our talents or money, the pastor took a unique take on this parable. He spoke on the amount of risk involved with each man. The men who risked the most received greater return from their risk.
The pastor likened this parable as a comparison with the time between Jesus’ ascension and when he will return. He felt that this parable refers to this period of waiting, and the message of how we use our time until Jesus returns. As the men took risks to increase their talents for the master, so are we to take risks for the Kingdom of God. His question to us: Are you taking risks as you wait for Christ’s return?
I suppose the normal response to this kind of sermon is guilt. Yes, I need to risk more for the Kingdom. Yes, I’m not doing enough, and on and on… But, as usual, my response was countercultural…I was…pissed.
May I whine for a moment?
Have I not risked for the Kingdom? Did I not spend a fortune to become trained for what I thought was for God’s purposes? Did I not spend time learning to become useful in the Kingdom? Is it my fault that The Church has rejected me? Am I really slacking? When is enough, enough?
As I inwardly raged against the sermon, I could hear Peter saying to Jesus in Matthew 19:27:
“We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
Jesus response to Peter was, in essence, “Wait.”
Dang! Just like Peter, again!
Once my pity-party was over, verses about waiting kept coming into my head. In particular, Psalm 130:1-6:
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
David was no stranger to waiting. He needed to wait until Saul was off the throne to become the King of Israel. Many others in the Bible waited on God. The Israelites waited 40 years to get into the Promised land. Both Hannah and Elizabeth waited for the right time to become pregnant. The bleeding woman waited 24 years to be healed. Jesus waited until he was 30 years old to begin his ministry.
What I discovered was, waiting is a regular theme in the Bible…
…and often the idea of waiting is associated with hope, as seen in Psalm 130.
Hope for salvation. Hope for blessing. Hope for strength. Hope for rescue. Hope for Christ’s return. It’s all there.
Hope is one of the aspects of the perfect triad in 1 Corinthians 13. Hope is a product of trusting God. Waiting seems to be an exercise of hope. Therefore,
In the end, the sermon was actually quite good. It brought about a reaction that led me down a path of searching. I find I am challenged not so much on the idea of risk, but on waiting well. So I continue to wait and, to be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m waiting for. Perhaps it is simply for the time when Christ returns. While I wait, maybe I just do the next opportunity that comes in front of me. Is that risk taking? I don’t know. But as I wait to see what God is up to in my life, I have hope. Hope that what I have done in preparation has not been for naught, and will not be wasted.
Are you in a period of waiting?
Take heart in this verse:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. ~ Romans 5:6 (NIV)
God’s got this. His timing is not my timing or your timing, but it is perfect timing. Just as Jesus waited for the right time to begin his ministry, So. Too. Must. We. Wait. Even after Peter’s vain response to Jesus, he did wait, just as Jesus said. Eventually, God used Peter’s life to demonstrate His glory, and Peter became a strategic part of bringing the message of salvation to the world.
May God strengthen you during your period of waiting. And may He bless this time of waiting with fruitfulness.