Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. (Matthew 24:42)
In 2 Thessalonians 3, Apostle Paul admonished the believers who were not busy but busybodies, that while awaiting the return of Christ, if they did not work, they would not eat. Even today, some of us wrongfully think that since Christ‘s return is imminent and we are saved, we need do nothing but wait. WRONG!
Matthew 24:36 states that no one knows exactly when Christ will return and Acts 1:8 says we are to be witnesses for the Lord to the ends of the earth. As demonstrated by Apostle Paul, waiting is not motionless, stationary, or still. Our waiting should be busy, and action filled, doing the works of the Lord while awaiting the second coming of Christ Jesus.
Whether aboard a ship waiting to reach his destination or in chains in jail awaiting the next phase of his imprisonment, Paul was not still or quiet. He remained busy telling the prisoners and those guarding him, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not give up and as long as he had breath and mobility, he walked, talked, delivered, and lived the Gospel. He was ever ready awaiting his next mission from God – he was busy in his waiting.
Because of Apostle Paul’s willingness, his motivation to present the saving grace through Jesus Christ and his passion for our Lord, untold Jews, and Gentiles he ministered to became beneficiaries of his “busy waiting.” Instead of waiting to pay the penalty for their sins, they were waiting in the knowledge that Jesus Christ had already paid the penalty once and for all at Calvary.
In I Timothy 4:12, Apostle Paul tells us to be an example in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. Our present waiting is an opportunity to tell others about Christ, to give our personal testimony, to spread the Good News to whosoever and to do so heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
Both Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr’s. actions are encouragement to us on how to positively handle a period of waiting. Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for almost 30 years, said that “we must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right” On April 16, 1963, while awaiting release from jail in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the now famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Why We Can’t Wait” in response to an article entitled “Call to Unity” submitted to a Birmingham newspaper by eight white Alabama clergymen. While these clergymen agreed the existence of injustices, they felt Dr. King’s timing and methods were wrong. King responded with his now famous letter quoting Chief Justice Earl Warren who in 1958 said, ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied”. Like Apostle Paul and Nelson Mandela, Dr. King did not spend his time idly waiting – he worked while he waited.
While waiting, wait busily. Commune with our LORD. Remain constant in prayer, exhibit faithfulness in stewardship and be an example to others on how to live for the Lord. There is a lot to do until Christ comes and Paul tells us not to become “weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9).
For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
James S. Hall Jr., Pastor