Today’s society moves fast. Sometimes – too fast.
While our Amish neighbors clip-clop down local roads at a few miles an hour, some speed demons with their supercharged engines feel the need to tear down the highway at well beyond the posted speed limit.
A good savory home cooked meal may take hours to prepare. Forget that, I’ll hit the drive thru for that greasy burger and fries and sugary soda. Why wait?
It used to be that you’d look forward to watching a movie that evening at a local theater, sitting through those commercials and movie previews before the show would actually begin. That is so OLD SCHOOL when I can watch any manner of movies on the mobile device in my pocket or bag and right away. RIGHT NOW.
How many fights have begun in stores and at airports because people were too impatient to simply WAIT?
Remember the old saying? “Good things come to those who wait.” Right. Waiting – what a quaint idea.
As Christians we are called to help others whenever we can. While many would like to snap their fingers and give immediate answers, their version of the two minute microwave meal, we know that helping someone else invariably takes time.
Hebrews Chapter 6 in the New Testament, believed by many to have been written by the Apostle Paul, speaks to this need for patience.
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. – Hebrews 6:13-14 NIV
Abraham – the great patriarch of three faiths. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all stretch their roots back to this simple man who was given a promise from God – believe in Me and worship Me and you will be the father of nations.
It was no microwave moment. To be the father of nations you need to be a – father. Abram, as he was first known, and his wife Sarai were without children. They surely tried but – nothing.
But God gave him a promise and it was fulfilled, in time. Twice actually – first with Ishmael by his mother Hagar, and later with Isaac in a “miracle birth” with the newly named Sarah. Ishmael is revered by Muslims as a great prophet tied to their faith. Isaac led to Jacob, then to his sons, eventually through David and Soiomon and then in time to Jesus.
And all Abraham has to do was believe – and wait.
We are called to do the same, no matter how itchy we get, how pushy, how “would you please hurry up and get out of the way?”
In Hebrews 6 we are reminded that slow diligence is to be rewarded…
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. – Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV
What a great three verses to remind us that those three P words – patience, persistence and perseverance – will always win out in the end.
Verse by verse…
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Some believe that salvation comes through faith alone. We know better. Faith is the cornerstone but good works in helping others is eternally connected to our belief. It’s not a one shot deal – score that big quick help assignment and your path to Heaven is assured. Instead is a steady progression, one help at a time, that leads us down the road to redemption.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
Salvation isn’t like retiring from your job. You work away for decades and then decide – that’s it, I’m done now. Let’s relax, kick back and enjoy whatever time remains. Now others can serve me. Pass me a drink.
Christ, the greatest of them all, was always showing that He was the greatest servant of them all. Humbling Himself to wash people’s feet, healing the sick and destitute, and never taking a thing in return. Being nailed to a cross and dying just for the forgiveness of sins. Diligence to the very end.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
God has promised you eternal salvation. It’s a promise He won’t ever take away. But like all good things it takes time to ultimately inherit. We are called to not waste that time – instead put it to good use serving others and serving the Lord.
Take a look at your schedule this week. Where amongst all the work and activities and chores and TV shows and outdoor fun can you find time to simply serve others as we are called to do?
We’ve all heard the old line “patience is a virtue.” We believe that comes from the Bible although it’s nowhere to be found in the Good Book. Or perhaps it actually is, right there in Hebrews 6.
It is virtuous to keep plugging away at helping people while waiting for our ultimate reward. God isn’t some vending machine that keeps giving us stuff every time we plug in a few quarters of token help to others.
Don’t designate five minutes here, a few minutes there. That’s the token help. Diligence and patience demand our time and attention and rightfully so.
Good things come to those who wait – and who help those in need. Right now that would probably be everyone. It’s always been everyone. God will never forget what you’ve done as you serve in His name.
From George Churchgoer