God is doing something new, we'd rather He do the same old thing. At least this was the attitude of Zechariah (see Luke 1:5-25). He was comfortable with his life and religious routine. When God showed up and through the Angel said, "I have a mission for you." Zechariah didn't want to believe or see his comfortable life disrupted. The irony here is that the comfortable, religious routines Zechariah wanted to hold onto, were meant to prepare him to serve God's purposes, not hold him back from serving.
Mary had a different attitude. When she was approached by the same angel and told the part God had for her she responded, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38, NIV). This young girl with no priestly training who was given the more difficult job said, "Yes, I'm in," when the mature, experienced pastor said in effect, "No thank you."
What is your answer to God's call to serve His mission, to do a new work, begin a new ministry or serve new people for the sake of His kingdom?
Most of us would admit we tend to be cautious, "mature" Zechariahs rather than excited, surrendered Marys. Perhaps you remember when, as a new Christian, the new things God wanted to do were exciting. God would point out a character flaw or sin in our life and, though painful, we'd praise him because He was transforming us. When there was a call to serve, to share our faith, to minister in the church we would jump at the chance to be on the front lines of God's mission to this world.
It's not too late. Like Zechariah, you may have become comfortable in the recliner of your religious routines, not wanting to get up (for the record I hate when I have to get out of my reclining chair). But also, like Zechariah, if you will submit to God's correcting, to His training and preparation, you will discover the desire, the courage and strength to say, "Yes I will serve you and do my part for Your mission." For Zechariah this meant listening to God's commands for the purpose of serving God's mission (remember, Zechariah couldn't speak, which means he became a good listener). It worked, he was transformed, got out of the recliner and served God's mission (read Luke 1:57ff).
Will you listen to the word of God (through reading, preaching etc.) with an ear to hear His mission for you? Will you let God get you out of that comfy, cozy recliner to serve His salvation purposes in our world? He will do it if you let Him.
Last Sunday, Nov. 24, was the first Sunday of Advent. The word, "Advent" means "coming". Advent is the season we remember the first coming of Jesus, who is the Light of the world. It is also the season we anticipate with eager expectation, Jesus' coming again. To help us understand and celebrate Advent, we have made our sanctuary dark in order to increase our desire for the light of Christ.
Pastor Matt taught us that when Jesus came the first time, it did not happen as people expected. Many, even the religious leaders were caught off guard and missed out on what God was doing. (By the way - this Sunday we will look at two reactions to God doing the unexpected. Read Luke 1:1-38 so you will be prepared).
The same will be true of Jesus' return, he is not going to come like or when we expect. Jesus himself said He would come like "a thief in the night" and many will be caught off guard. So the question becomes, "How can we who look forward to Christ's return, be prepared?"
If Jesus' first coming was not as expected and if His second coming will take many by surprise THEN we can be certain of this: We won't be ready if our faith is based on what we expect God to do rather than on what He says He will do. God's people missed Jesus' arrival because they were not carefully listening to God's word. THEREFORE God's people will be caught off guard at the second coming if we are not people who study, listen to and surrender in order to live according to God's word. This warning from the book of James' comes to mind, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22).
The people of Israel decided to fit God into their lives, they expected God to endorse their thinking and their lifestyles and they missed out. Only those who hear the word and surrender all by giving control of their lives, their wills, their schedules and their service to Christ, only these will be prepared and longing for the second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Will you give 6 minutes to God right now. Here is a link to a six minute video of excellent teaching on how to live Under (surrendered to) the Word of God. CLICK HERE
I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.
- William Carey
My name is Tim Kirkes. I am honored to be the a child of my heavenly Father, the husband of Lisa, the father of two boys and the pastor of San Dimas Wesleyan church.