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The Weight of Wait

These teachings are now available in 30 minute videos at our YouTube channel at 721ministries.org.

It is a few days before Pentecost, and the disciples are in Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified and resurrected around forty days prior. Since then they have seen him many times, and most recently up in Galilee, their home turf. There he had breakfast on the beach with them (John 21—a truly lovely story) and also appeared to them, along with five hundred of their closest friends, to give them the “Great Commission” (Matt. 28).

Now they are back in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost because this is one of the three annual feasts to which are Jews are required to travel to the Holy City.

Remember, Pentecost is the Greek name for the Old Testament Hebrew name Shavuot. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Christians celebrate Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit at Mt. Moriah—the Temple Mount. I think it should be on par with Christmas and Easter as Christian celebrations, because it is the birth of the Christian movement.

Dr. Luke picks up the story here:

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift—the Holy Spirit—my Father promised …” (Acts 1:4, bold added)

Now please notice Jesus was very specific: “but wait for the Holy Spirit.”

I can see Jesus looking at Peter—impetuous, cannot sit still, Peter. And emphasizing the word “wait.” Jesus knows the heart of the disciples, and he knows yours, too. He knows we do not like to wait. We like action. We like motion. Motion and action satisfy our, “If I don’t, it won’t,” inner nervousness. Motion and action pacify our, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me,” compulsion.

But Jesus knows the disciples could not possibly know the next right thing to do, until the Holy Spirit shows them. And before Pentecost the disciples did not yet have the Holy Spirit. He knew they—or at least their leader Peter—would feel like they had to do something. They couldn’t just sit around and pray, and wait for guidance.

So, Jesus stated emphatically, “Wait. Wait for the Holy Spirit.”

A good friend recently related a story from his Harvard MBA days. His professor was discussing decision making. He drew a “decision tree” on the board and discussed how to lay out all the available options to solve a difficult problem. Then the professor said this:

“Of all the students I have had over all the years, rarely does anyone remember what I am about to tell you. But there is another option that is typically not on your decision tree. This option carries equal weight, if not an even greater weight, than all these other action-options you have listed.”

The professor paused, surveyed the students, and then said, “And that is the option to wait, to do nothing.”

Argh!

I do not like to wait. I like to move ahead. I like to make decisions, and then carry them out. Action! Motion!

Why do I not like to wait? Because I might not get my way. Things may not go as I think they must. Only patsies wait. Real men take action.

If I wait on the Holy Spirit, he may want to do it another way. He may even want to do it a way that I do not like. Oh sure, if I am sitting in Sunday School, I am going to parrot the party line: “Of course I want what God wants. His will not mine,” and all that.

But in my human heart I want my way—because it is, I am sure, the best way.

What about you?

Next Week: Did Peter and the boys wait?

Note: To hear much more from me on Pentecost, including many fun and interesting details and connections and teaching points, tune into our YouTube Channel at www.721minsitries.org.

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