Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Being Willing to Wait for the Results

We live in a day when we want to see results as soon as possible; a quick return on our investments of time, effort or resources. Otherwise, we move on. Our patience is short, our attention span abbreviated, our loyalties conditional. Long-term "stickability" or the fortitude to wait for God to bring about His purposes in His own time is an increasingly rare commodity amoung Western Christians. "I want what I want and I want it now!" tends to be our mantra.

We forget that God is not bound by our timetable (and not even our lifespan!). He will accomplish His purposes in His own time. In our rush, we neglect to recognize that our calling is not to "do something" but to glorify His name and to enrich eternity, not to bring glory to ourselves and chase after our own priorities. God's purposes often take time, generations even, to come to fruition. Consider even this limited example:

1. A Sunday School teacher in Boston visits one of his students at his place of work, a shoe store owned by the young man's uncle. Edward Kimball goes to the back of the store where his student is stocking the shelves. He leads the young man, D.L. Moody, to Christ.

2. Year later, D.L. Moody becomes an evangelist and leads Wilbur Chapman to the Lord. Chapman becomes one of the next generation's leading evangelists.

3. More years pass. Wilbur Chapman is ministering in Chicago. A gospel wagon, playing hymns and inviting people to one of his Sunday afternoon service, drives by a baseball player named Billy Sunday. Sunday attends the service and accepts Christ as his Saviour.

4. Billy Sunday also becomes an evangelist. During one of his meetings, a young man named Mordecai Hamm becomes a follower of Jesus.

5. Mordecai Hamm later becomes one of the leading evangelists in the southeastern United States. During one of his meetings, a young man and his friend come forward to accept Christ. The young man is Billy Graham.

A line of succession; evidence of God's patient, unfolding plan of reconciling the world to Himself, often unseen or misunderstood but invariably relentless in its forward momentum. And, of course, the line did not start with the Boston Sunday School teacher, nor did it end with Billy Graham. It continues through the lives of those who faithfully and sacrificially serve the Lord even when they can't see the end results and perhaps even won't, at least not until eternity


Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Albert McMakin. The man who convinced a young Billy Graham to go to Mordecai Hamm's evangelistic meeting by allowing him to drive his pick up truck.

Glenn Penner said...

Good point, lest we think that only those who actually lead people to Christ as part of God's work of reconciling the world to Himself