NOW IS THE ACCEPTABLE TIME
Another disciple said to him, “Lord,
first let me go and bury my father.”
Often our struggle as Christians isn’t in deciding whether we should obey Christ but in whether we’ll obey immediately. God’s timing is perfect. When He speaks, the time to respond in obedience is now. We often act as if we have all the time in the world to obey Him, but history doesn’t wait on our commitments. There’s no such thing as postponing a decision with God. Either we obey or we disobey. It’s either faith or unbelief, obedience or disobedience. God’s revelation of His will is His invitation to respond immediately.
Some would-be disciples pledged their willingness to follow Jesus, but they told Him they weren’t ready yet. In Jesus’ day a Jewish man was expected to care for his elderly parents until they died. One man wanted to wait until his father died before going with Jesus. This would be an honorable delay. The man had to choose between this important responsibility and heeding a call from the Lord. Yet God knew this man, and He knew the man’s father. God would have taken care of the man’s father if only he had followed Jesus. This was an opportunity to walk with the Son of God, yet the concerns of this life were competing for priority with obedience to God.
Timing our obedience is crucial. Invitations from God come with a limited opportunity to respond. Some opportunities to serve Him, if not accepted immediately, will be lost. Occasions to minister to others may pass us by. When God invites us to intercede for someone, it may be critical that we stop what we’re doing and immediately adjust our lives to what God’s doing.
Missing opportunities to serve the Lord can be tragic. When an invitation comes from God, the time to respond is now. That’s why Scripture tells us God is concerned with our heart. If we don’t keep our heart in love with Jesus, we’ll be prone to disobey when God speaks to us. And our disobedience could affect the lives of others.
God’s timing is always perfect. He knows you, and He’s fully aware of your circumstances. He knows all He’s built into your life until now, and He extends His invitation knowing His resources are more than adequate for any assignment He gives you.
When God speaks, it’s always from the context of eternity. We don’t have to know all the implications of what He’s asking. We just have to know that it’s a word from Almighty God. Now is always the acceptable time to respond to the Lord.
In what area of life have you been postponing a decision about an invitation from God? Why haven’t you responded? What does this inaction reveal?
Because delayed obedience is choosing to be disobedient, how does your inaction affect your relationship with God?
Why is timing significant in obeying God? Identify as many factors, positive or negative, that may be affected by your obedience.
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]