Monday, August 22, 2011

Balancing Urgency & Patience

Of all the character traits that compose the fruit of the Spirit, patience is the one I struggle with the most. I hate to say it, but I'm probably the most impatient person I know. God has grown me significantly in this area over the years, but I still have a long way to go. Most of the time my impatience is completely selfish. I find myself acting as if "my time" is the most valuable time on this earth.

Urgency is another aspect of life I deal with on a daily basis. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am constantly aware of the reality that Jesus is coming back soon, that life is fragile and can end any day, for any person, of any age, and that those who die without placing their faith in Jesus' atoning work on the cross will be tormented in hell forever... that's right... for eternity. This reality is haunting at times. I want to get the message out so fast. I want to shout at people, scream at people, shake some sense into people. But I also believe the reality that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

There is a balance between urgency & patience, but both are needed as missionaries of the gospel (which we are all called to be). We all must recognize that some of us plant the seeds of the gospel, some of us water those seeds, but God is ALWAYS the one who makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:5-6). Always. There are places in this world that are seeing revivals the likes of which I can hardly comprehend. Thousands of people placing their faith in Jesus for salvation. Then there is Tacoma. Spiritually open... closed to the gospel. Patience is key but it is only possible through faith. I have to have absolute faith that God knows what he is doing and it's the best plan possible.

One quick story about the patience that can often be required of the gospel. Last week I got an email from a bartender in Snoqualmie where we lived and helped plant a church prior toTacoma. The soil is so tough there. This bartender, Patrick, was a casual acquaintance of mine at best. He worked at the local Pub that Kelli and I occasionally went to and he was friends with the owner of the music store I worked with. I vaguely remember a time that he came into the music store and my boss was not there. I think I got to share the gospel with him... but I honestly don't remember for sure. Well, 2 years have passed... 2 years... and to be honest I have not thought much about Patrick. Then I received a facebook message.

He facebooked me and said that some tough things had happened in his life and he felt like he needed to explore God. He told me I was the first person he thought of that could help him with that... a sad reality about the state of our region (considering I barely know him)... and asked me if I knew of any good churches near him. Of course I said "YES!!!" and told him of a few great churches. We are going to meet up in the next week or so (hopefully) to talk about the gospel.

2 years. 2 years since I've seen Patrick. But God knows what he's doing. Patience and urgency. Excelling in one is not an excuse to neglect the other. We must live and share the gospel with urgency, patiently trusting God with the timing of the response.

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