Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART – 2: It’s About Time

 
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together,
journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 
But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, 
and he began to be in want. 
Luke 15:13-14

I can imagine this young man leaving his father’s house with his inheritance in hand. He was probably exhilarated by his newly acquired independence. He could now chart his own course for his life. I would think that he thoroughly enjoyed his newly found popularity as he used up his gift to impress others. Fame, finances and freedom! This was the life!! He finally had it all…….or so he thought. A rude awakening awaited him.

While he was in his father’s care he had never experienced lack. When he ate, more food was provided for him….. by his father. When he needed clothes, those too, were given to him….. by his father. His father gave him provision, protection, guidance, and most importantly, love. The young son may have had to work, as his older brother did, but he would also have enjoyed all the benefits of being under his father’s covering.

But now he was out there on his own, and this young man was unprepared for the culture of the world system.

He didn’t realize that outside of his father's household he would now have to toil to acquire what he needed, toil to maintain it, toil to grow it and toil to protect it from predators.

In that world it was every man for himself. No one was there to love him just for who he was. To those who lived in that world he was simply a means to an end.

His father was no longer there to replenish his supply, and eventually his gift dwindled down to nothing. He was left alone and destitute, without the friends, without the finances.....and without his father.

Like the father in the parable, our Heavenly Father gives gifts and abilities to us all. Some are called to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers. There are other giftings within the Body of Christ also. Some are endowed with the ability to lead. Yet others are given the gift of giving, administration, hospitality or discerning of spirits. The gifts are numerous and varied and you can read about them in the following Scriptures:
  • Romans 12:3-9
  • Ephesians 4:7-13
  • 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
  • 1 Peter 4:10-11

Unfortunately, too many in the household of the Christian faith do just what the younger son did. They become convinced that their gift is not being recognized, that their leader(s) are impeding their progress and/or that the Father is taking too long. They decide to pursue their calling and launch out on their own, not waiting to be fully trained to handle the responsibility that comes with the gift. The results are usually just as disastrous as with the young man in the parable.

A gift used without the Father’s loving blessing, covering and guidance soon becomes corrupted, and its owner falls into spiritual bankruptcy.

Jesus Himself had to wait 30 years before He could launch out into ministry. Had He moved out on His own, ahead of His appointed time, you and I, and indeed the entire universe, would have suffered the consequences. Even after He began His ministry, Jesus always moved in cadence with the Father's timing. As a result He remained continually under the Father’s covering, and enjoyed the blessings of His Abba’s provision, protection and guidance.

The young son in this parable would have eventually received his inheritance……in the right time. But because he moved out of his father’s timing a terrible domino effect occurred.

God is a God of perfect timing. He is very deliberate and strategic in everything He does. He sees the big picture in each of our lives while we see only a portion.

What seems like delay or denial to you may be His way of preparing you for what the future holds. It could also be His way of showing you what your true motivation is.

In other words, do you have a true desire to build the Body of Christ, or are you just interested in using the gift to build a following and promote you into the limelight? Are you willing to wait for your appointed season, or are you impatient to get out there and show people how gifted and anointed you are? In the depths of your heart where no one but God sees, who do you really want to please.....God or yourself?

What gifts and/or abilities  has the Father given to you? 
Please make sure that you don’t use them until the Father says, 
“It’s time.”

14 comments:

  1. this is powerful and so true. Often I would say to people that "it's like the curse of the gifted" having the ability to do many things well but not knowing when to operate in them. people will tell u , "oh u r good at this, you should.." but this is foolish counsel, only God's counsels stands. This article challenged me to really remember to please God and not be self serving. sometmes we can think we are on the right path but if we take an opportunity to examine our heart, hopefully what we find is not a desire to please us.Thank you for sharing your gift. miss u big hug!

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  2. Great piece once again Audrey! Thank you! It revealed how critical it is for believers to do the periodic heart checks! Stuff could be lurking in the heart that is offensive to God and we could be so unaware that it's there if we never check. Thanks again for this necessary and timely reminder. God Bless You!!

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  3. Great post and very timely for me. I just tweeted it also. ;-)

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  4. Good illustration of how we need to do things in God's time. Why are we sometimes so impatient? I'm glad He is patient with us.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  5. Hello Audrey, Yes we can get pretty impatient but all is in God's time, and for His glory.
    Thirty years for Jesus, was as a day for God..and when you look back on time it never seems that long after all.
    God bless you . CML

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  6. Wow. What an excellent, thought-provoking post!
    Thank you. Have a Happy Spiritual Sunday.

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  7. Hi Audrey,

    I agree, the lure to achieve can overpower us through impatience. As you've said, "God is a God of perfect timing." Learning to trust God in all facets of my life includes trusting the timing of God; my thoughts don't measure up to His thoughts.

    I suppose it's a little silly when I attempt to announce that I've arrived at a place of spiritual maturity in my life; that I'm ready to launch out on my own. I realize that being on my own is not where I want my life to be. I enjoy being in the provision and blessings of the Sovereign God.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

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  8. Thanks for a great reading. Wonderful post.
    God Bless & Merry Christmas

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  9. Wow. super wow...this is so right on. I don't want people to see me...I want them to see Him...b/c He's the only one who can give real freedom and peace.

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  10. So many wonderful Godly thing come from waiting. All in his time. So many younger people just don't understand this.
    Blessings,
    Ginger

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  11. What an interesting and practical look at the Prodigal Son. I especially appreciated and was blessed by the encouraging words, "God is a God of perfect timing. He is very deliberate and strategic in everything He does. He sees the big picture in each of our lives while we see only a portion." What a great reminder. Thank you for this sweet Spiritual Sunday.

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  12. We are experiencing a blizzard here in Wisconsin, so I am totally enjoying reading the posts from Spiritual Sundays this morning. I love your last line about using our abilities when God says it's time. Much to think about!

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  13. WONDERFUL oh so true post!!! Thank you.

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  14. Audrey, I like how you've expounded upon the story of the prodigal son even more. I can't recall the passage of scripture I read recently that caused me to pause and think that the waiting is God's way of being kind to us. The wait is actually salvation for us. Often saving us from our own self detriment.

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