Being a Christian is, without a doubt, a wonderful thing. Not only are we spiritually reborn, but we now belong to a family. A community of believers from all different walks of life, who share in the same Spirit. We each have our gifts, roles, and callings, but we are still working together for one grand purpose. To share God’s love with the rest of the world.
Mark 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
There is so much depth to this scripture. We have a calling to go out into the world and share the gospel, but it also comes with a stern warning; Those who do not believe “shall be damned.” This is serious business. It’s all-or-nothing. You’re either “in” or you’re “out”, but it’s our choice and we can be assured that God will honor His Word.
Having been commissioned with something of such importance, one might thing that I would be encouraging you to jump right on to the front lines and start trying to convert people. Well not necessarily. Sometimes success means preparing, and sometimes preparing requires periods of rest.When Paul is sharing his rundown of the “full armor of God”, he speaks of preparation:
Eph 6:14-15 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
So let’s use a modern day example:
If I was training to compete in a game of football, I would certainly need to train to be successfully, but even during that training there would be time I would need to rest. If not, when game day arrives, I’m going to be too exhausted to do my best. The same thing is true with the Gospel. We need to train ourselves so we know God’s word, so that we can be ready when we are called upon to do our part when we are called upon.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We also really need to know the playbook. We can’t expect people to understand salvation if we, as born again Christians, don’t know one verse, book, or chapter from the next. Sure, the Holy Spirit is there through it, but we’re vessels for the Holy Spirit, and we need to be ready to do our part when the time comes.
God has a plan. Think of Him as the “Coach.,” He’s there for us and knows how the game needs to unfold from start to finish. Now what he needs from you is to be prepared. When the time comes to make a play, you need to be ready. This means resting sometimes. It’s sitting on the bench spiritually and being patient. Study if you need to, but don’t be too exhausted to act when the time comes. Furthermore, as part of a community or team, there are other “players” that need to do their part. Sometimes even before you’re called forward. You’re not unimportant! It’s just not quite your turn yet!
The Larger Picture
So let’s talk paintings now. Eternal life is the masterpiece, but the painting needs to be painted first. It may even tell a story, but there are likely many components to that story. Now think of the sinner’s life as a painting. There may be parts of their life that need to be drawn before it’s your time to be brushed into it. This isn’t a call to be lazy. I’m just suggesting to you, once again; consider being patient. Lean on the Lord and let Him guide you into it. He knows every stroke of the masterpiece even while it is still a blank canvas. We need to trust in him and be guided. Sometimes we can want to interject ourselves into something to the point it can be toxic. It may not be our intent, but if you start throwing your greens and reds, when the right stroke is yellow, our interference may seem more like a stain than something that is unified with the other parts.
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Resting In Prison
So let me throw something else at you. In the Book of Acts, we read about how Paul and Silas were put in prison. These were two men who were our preaching the gospel, which is interrupted by violence. They were beaten and bruised for the sake of the Gospel.
Acts 16:22-23 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
I can only imagine how hectic the lives of these two men had to have been. They were fulfilling their calling, but they were taking a walloping in the meantime. Sitting in prison in shackles probably seemed to rest to the,. They even took it as an opportunity to sing and praise God.
Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
What’s even more exciting is the opportunity this permitted. An earthquake shook the foundation of the prison so violently that Paul and Silas were free. The jailer had an :”Oh no!” moment and was about to end his own life. But something special happened. Paul and Silas spoke to him and let them know, “Hey, we’re still here and we don’t want you to harm yourself.” Moments later, the jailer accepted Jesus into his life. A man that was on the brink of ending his own life. Imagine if Paul and Silas had not been there and maybe some other prisoners took of running. That might’ve been it for the jailer. But that wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was to bring that him to Christ.
Let me make it clear. I’m not telling you to infinitely be in a state of rest. I’m telling you to seek God. If He wants you to rest, then take it as a chance to prepare your yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually so you’re ready when it’s your time to leap into action. We don’t know how everything in front of us is going to play out, but God does. The more we trust Him and follow His lead, the more effectively we will be able to carry out his great commission and share the Gospel of Christ with others. Thank you for reading and God bless.