The Five Beeps (No, that isn’t a Motown Group)

Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep… 

No, it’s not the dialogue from the latest episode of The Osbournes, it is the sound my coffee maker makes when the coffee is ready. This morning, like many mornings, I anxiously await the sound that signifies that the sweet nectar of life is perfectly prepared and ready to drink. Wouldn’t it be nice if our ideas had that little beeper to let us know when the timing is just right for acting on them? While it is true that timing is important and right ideas at the wrong times are not much better than wrong ideas, I find that far more people make the opposite mistake: sitting and waiting on the perfect time, the perfect scenario, or the flawless idea – as if that little beeper hasn’t gone off yet. There are some times that God wants us to be still and wait, but I suspect it is much less often than we think. In fact, I believe God has quite a sense of urgency.

Listen to 2 Peter 3:9, 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  In other words, God isn’t willing for anyone to be lost, yet approximately 150,000 people die each day, that’s about 100 people every minute. While statistics vary, only around 10-20 percent of these people claim to be Christians. Now, God’s plan for reaching those that don’t know Him is… us. That leads me to some uncomfortable math: during each minute that I sit idle, about 80 people die without knowing God – an outcome that the Bible says God doesn’t want; and each day that I wait for His “perfect will” for my life, about 125,000 people enter the afterlife without hope. This has forced me to reevaluate how I do some things. At times, I have tenaciously clung to inactivity, waiting on God to speak clearly. While that may work for some people, I have found a different method to be more effective for me. I have a friend who describes it this way: “do the next right thing that is in front of you.”

I will give you an example that just happened at our church. We have a gentleman who attends there who runs a ministry to feed and clothe people in our community. This ministry is called Christ Chapel, and sits right in downtown Ringgold, GA. The first week of April, we dedicated a Sunday to outreach, and the members brought in bags and bags of clothing and food for Christ Chapel. I wish I could tell you that I had a strong leading from the Lord to do this at that particular time, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, it just seemed like the right thing to do; and while there were no beeps from Heaven signifying it was the perfect time, we just did it. Just three weeks later, a tornado ravaged the city of Ringgold, leveling much of the town and shutting off power throughout the region. FEMA closed down Ringgold for several days while search and rescue operations took place, so no one could get in to bring aid to those who were without clothes, food, or power. Right in the middle of the devastated town stood Christ Chapel. While they had no power, the building still stood and functioned throughout those difficult days, giving out resources, which included our donations, to those that were in need.

In his terrific book, “Sun, Stand Still,”  Steven Furtick relates the story of Joshua’s unprecedented prayer that darkness wouldn’t fall for an entire extra day so that Israel could finish winning a battle. Joshua 10:13 says, “The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer.” What the author points out, though, is verse 9, which says, ”Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise.” In other words, Joshua’s audacious prayer and God’s amazing answer all occurred while Israel was in motion, having already marched all night. Most often, I find that God brings resources, as well as any needed redirection to people who are already in motion. God has a sense of urgency; shouldn’t we? Look around you and see what needs to be done – the next right thing – and just start doing it. The beep, beep, beep, beep, beep will come.

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