Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Are You Waiting For?

Thoughts  on the Sabbath School lesson dated 5.28.11

“For those of you who've asked that question, a recent poll by Priority Management, Inc., has the answer. In a lifetime, the average American will spend:  six months sitting at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, one year looking for misplaced objects, two years unsuccessfully returning phone calls, five years waiting in line.”[1]
That’s a whole lot of waiting around!  I’m pretty sure I’ve beaten the average on looking for misplaced objects!  What about you?

Anyway, these are the things we spend our time waiting on, how long does it take for us to become impatient?
“In March of 2006, the Associated Press and Ipsos surveyed 1,003 adults concerning Americans' attitudes and behavior regarding impatience. Some of the findings included:   While waiting in line at an office or store, it takes an average of 17 minutes for most people to lose their patience.  On the phone, it takes about 9 minutes for most people to lose their patience.  Women lost their patience after waiting in line for about 18 minutes. For men, it was an average of 15 minutes.  People with lower income and less education are more patient than those with a college education and a high income.  People who live in the suburbs are more patient than people who live in the city.”[2]
What I get from this is we’re an impatient bunch who end up waiting around for stuff.  That could explain a good bit of our daily stress levels.

It’s funny, though, that as impatient as we tend to be about trivial, everyday things like waiting in line at the store or being put on hold on the phone, many of us feel no urgency at all for a relationship with Jesus.  I’ve known people who, when asked about their lack of a relationship, have said that they’re “not in any hurry” to make that kind of a commitment.  I believe that people who feel that way, often don’t have an accurate picture of themselves and their need for salvation.  Actually we all have the same problem.  Satan does his best to make sure that we never see ourselves as we really are.
"You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”   Revelation 3:17
 The longer we see ourselves as rich and self-sufficient, the longer it will be before we ask Jesus into our lives.  The longer we stay like Florence Foster Jenkins, also known as, “the Tone Deaf Diva.”
“Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano, loved to sing—especially the great operatic classics. She inherited money when she was in her 50s, which funded her musical career. It wasn't long before her popularity skyrocketed, holding annual recitals at the Ritz-Carlton in New York throughout the 1930s and 40s. But as one writer puts it, ‘History agrees, with hands held over its ears, that she couldn't sing for sour apples. Jenkins' nickname, behind her back, was 'the Tone-Deaf Diva,' or 'The Terror of the High C's.' The writer adds that if you ever hear one of her old recordings, all that you'll hear will be ‘squeaks, squawks, and barks.’
But get this: she didn't ever grasp that she was bad! When people laughed and hooted as she sang, she took it to be delirious enthusiasm for great music. She thought they loved her and her music.
“In 1944, when she was 76-years-old, she did a benefit concert for the armed forces at Carnegie Hall in New York. Thousands lined the streets to get tickets, and the performance sold out in minutes. The recording of that concert is still the third most requested album from Carnegie Hall recordings, punctuated by a painful rendition of ‘Ave Maria.’
“What can we learn from Ms. Jenkins? People will say, "It doesn't matter what you believe, so long as you're sincere." But it does matter. Belief must match reality, or it is laughable, a delusion.”[3]
The longer Satan can keep us in that delusion, the longer it will be until we admit our need for Jesus.

Satan knows that the instant we recognize our need and cry out , “Jesus save me,” like Peter did when he was walking on the water with Jesus and began to sink.  “Jesus save me.”

That’s all it takes…isn’t it amazing?  No matter how far away we’ve wandered (or run from) Jesus, it’s only one step back into His arms.  Falling away may have taken years, but returning is instant.
“If you go over to Scotland, or anywhere there are lots of sheep, sooner or later you're going to see a very unusual sight. You'll see a little lamb running around the field, and you'll notice this lamb has what looks like an extra fleece tied around its back. In fact, you'll see there are little holes in the fleece for its four legs and usually a hole for its head. If you see a little lamb running around like that, that usually means its mother has died.
“And without the protection and nourishment of a mother, any orphaned lamb will die. If you take the orphaned lamb and try to introduce it to another mother, the new mother will butt it away. She won't recognize the lamb's scent and will know the new baby is not one of her own lambs.
“But thankfully, most flocks are large enough that there is a ewe that has recently lost a lamb. The shepherd will skin the dead lamb and make its fleece into a covering for the orphaned lamb, then he'll take the orphaned lamb to the mother whose baby just died. Now, when she sniffs the orphaned lamb, she will smell the fleece of her own lamb. Instead of butting the lamb away, she will accept it as one of her own.
“In a similar way, we have become acceptable to God by being clothed with Christ.”[4]
It only takes an instant – no waiting in line, no application to fill out, no automated phone answering system, no app to download;  just three simple words: “Jesus save me.”

What are we waiting for?

[1] Reported in U.S. News & World Report, 1/20/89. Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 3.
[2] Trevor Thompson, "Impatience Poll Glance," (5-28-06)
[3] Doug George, "Florence Foster Jenkins: She played Carnegie Hall and she really couldn't sing a note?" Chicago Tribune (11-20-09)
[4] Peter Grant, "In What Way Is Jesus Christ Different?"

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