This time of year is one of high expectations, the problem is many times we set the bar way too high and then this results in failed expectations. We come from Christmas to the New Year- are you ready for Christmas? No, I am not ready for the shopping, the deadlines, the expenses, the gift wrapping, the cooking, the traveling, and why am I not ready? I did not prepare properly! Yet, I knew in January that Christmas was coming in December- that is eleven month to plan and prepare for all the things that need to be done! Ok- I admit it- one of shortcoming is I am an expert at procrastination and also am very skilled at rationalizing that procrastination- I will be in the stores on Christmas Eve doing the biggest part of my Christmas shopping- the good thing is I know what I am going to get for everyone and where it is at- does that count as planning? Anyway , save for the lines it won’t take me too long to shop. Ahh yes, those long lines…. patience is not one of my virtues either, I want to get in the store and get out of the store. But those lines are not really a problem- as with any problem is it actually an opportunity! I have used the wait in that line to practice my Spanish with native speakers, and even the opportunity to witness the Gospel has presented itself- this time of the year is when more people are open to the gospel even more so than at Easter. I used to let those opportunities go by and not speak, and that began to really bother me after several years of not saying anything- it took much soul searching to figure out why then one day, many years ago this verse from Romans jumped out of the page and tried and convicted me – it was because of shame or perhaps a better word would be embarrassment – why would anyone be embarrassed to be a Christian to the point of not speaking out of that faith- anyway here is the verse:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
And another passage with the same tought
2 Timothy 1:8
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Perhaps the real reason for not daring to speak the Good News, was a lack of faith. It took me awhile to realize that I am not responsible for the results just the effort- perhaps the best gift you could give to someone this year is to present the gospel to someone that you know and you know that they need to hear it- it could even be a stranger waiting in a long line at the cash register is being more patient than you! You might think you did not succeed to do think that you failed- all things are on God’s timetable, not ours- you may find out later that your conversation had a huge impact on this person and through that person many were brought to Christ, all in God’s plan as was the baby in the manger so long ago- that changed the world is so many dramatic ways! Our failed expectations may the success of God’s ultimate plan.
New King James Version (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according toHis purpose.
2 Timothy 4:5
New King James Version (NKJV)
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Have Merry and Joyous Celebration of Christ!