May 20, 2012

Acts 1:7-8 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Verse 8 is widely and frequently quoted in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles, but it strikes me that verse 7 is extremely relevant today. We are seeing various things that would certainly seem to point to Last Days and the coming judgment, and the temptation to get tied in knots over it all is very real. However, Jesus says very clearly here that that’s not our business. Our business is to be His witnesses, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Any thinking person at times ponders the meaning of their existence, and I think the answer is found in the “first two” commandments: loving God and loving our neighbors. (Matthew 22:27-40) Loving God puts us into right relationship with Him, preparing us to spend eternity with Him. Loving our neighbors means communicating the love of God to them, to draw as many as possible to join us in right relationship to God. Everything else is of at best secondary importance to those two. An awareness that we aren’t here forever is a valuable thing, and the awareness that God is going to bring everything into judgment is too. However, being anxious about when and how, as the disciples were, simply distracts us from our task of being witnesses for as long as God keeps us here.

This is frequently on my mind, given the world political situation and the fact that I’m about four months from the age at which my father got his, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am quite aware of how blessed he was, but I am not to envy him. Rather, I am to be faithful at each task I am given, not being anxious about the next one but trusting God with the past, present, and future. I am to live in the moment, knowing that I am already participating in eternal life, and that God is more than able to handle everything properly. Recently I have had opportunities to express that mindset to others, and I even had a dream of my doing that just this morning. I must not admonish others and then fail to walk in it myself! There are many things that work to distract me, to make me anxious on various levels, and I must stand firm against them all. It is not mine to know when and how, and that’s a good thing; I’m to be a witness.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Help me remember it at all times, not growing weary in doing well, but allowing Your power to flow through me on all levels to accomplish Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. The devil is adept at presenting “what if” scenarios to my mind. Help me stand firm in You, knowing that You are more than able to handle anything that happens, and that in Christ, we are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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