God is a God of the 'NOW'.
If you are like me, most days there just does not seem to be enough 'time'. So many things to accomplish in the 14 hours or so that we're awake: Work to do, shopping to do, places to visit, family to look after - the list is endless. Would it be any different if we had a 36 hour day? or a 40 hour day? Would life become 'less' busy because we had more 'time'? Somehow I think not. We would still find things to do with our time, we would still be 'too busy'.
Although God is eternal, and is not restricted by time as we are, He has not left us alone in this world to just 'get on with it'. God has a purpose for this world, God has a purpose for you and God has a purpose for me. The psalmist wrote ' My times are in thy hand;' (Ps.31;16) This is a comfort for the Christian. To know our times are in his hands, that our heavenly Father looks after us, protects us, provides for us and much,much more.
We need to dwell on that phrase 'My times are in thy hand' - our time is in God's hands! That means God is in control. Our lives belong to God and therefore we should be concious of how we use our time, what we do what we say, where we go etc.
Ecclesiasties (3:1-11) has a long list of how time is appropriated in life: a time to be born, to die, to heal, to break down, to build up, to weep, to laugh - the list goes on. The writer in Ecclesiaties concludes in verse 11 ' he has made everything beautiful in its time'. Just think - God has made 'EVERYTHING beautiful'!
That seems so far from the world we see on our TV screens though, or the world we read about in the papers or on the internet. The world we see is a world that is broken, hurting, at war, in turmoil and distress, a world that looks far from beautiful. Could it be the case that the reason for this destruction in the world is due to the fact that so many people are living for 'Now' in a world as they see it, without a God who cares? A world of self centeredness and selfishness where they give no real thought as to where they will spend eternity?
The heart beat of anyone involved with evangelism is a heart beat for the lost, a heart beat of urgency.It is a heart that beats because God does care! The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6 '...Behold now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation' (v2). The greek word used in this verse for 'time' is 'KAIROS' meaning a 'season' rather than a defined length of time. God has not left this world to it's own devices, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross so that all who put their trust in Him could be forgiven and restored to a new life which has meaning and purpose.
This is the season we are in. This is God's 'NOW' moment. This is our 'NOW' moment. We only have the days we are alive to make a difference, to be 'redeeming the time' (Eph 5:16). We only have 'NOW', this 'SEASON', to share the gospel, to tell people about Jesus. So often we say we are waiting for God, but the truth is He is waiting for us - waiting for us to go - NOW - for 'NOW IS THE TIME!
Steve Mullins ( @drybonestrust )
The urgency of spreading the Gospel has been fired up within me since the week at Reinhard Bonnke’s School of Evangelism in London. “Now is the Time” to see the kingdom increase, saving souls, encouraging the disheartened to return to their first love, Jesus, and equipping believers to take the Gospel into their communities. The inner desire to ‘Go’ has within it the need to be wise.
A couple of months ago I was reading through the book of Mark. I was encouraged to see how the author takes the reader on a geographical journey, Galilee and Judea but also a journey of Jesus ministry. The Gospel of Mark is known as the evangelist’s gospel due to the vividness and clarity in the writing style. Mark emphasises the Passion of Christ, which is what we as evangelist’s have in abundance, passion. The need for personal faith, the gospel message and power of Jesus to bring hope to the lost are at the core of Mark’s gospel. The author’s vigour and urgency in exalting Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, runs hand in hand with discipleship.
The life of discipleship and service means for many of us experiencing rejection and misunderstanding as Jesus did. Disciples are encouraged to see Jesus’ mission, take up their cross and follow him. The urgency of “Now”can over shadow all that was taught throughout the New Testament. It is so easy to focus on fulfilling “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:10) that we forfeit some of the teachings of Jesus that enable us to be wise stewards.
There are a couple of verses within Mark’s Gospel that give core principles for personal safeguard which are not always at the fore front of being a wise steward of our time. Jesus spent time discipling the twelve, in all aspects of ministry. The verses appear to be hidden, but I believe are strategically placed and significant in terms of being a wise steward especially when passion is high and God is calling us to preach the gospel. They come after Jesus rejection in Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6), the sending out of the disciples (Mark 6:7-13), the death of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29) and before the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6: 33-44).
Imagine the excitement that the disciples felt, the trepidation, Jesus, the one who spoke with authority, the one who had raised the dead, healed the sick, and had released them, the disciples, to go out into the community to do as he had done. Did they think ‘now is the time’ to see Jesus acknowledged for who he was? Imagine the zeal, the passion to be imitators of Jesus; there is no suggestion in the scriptures of the amount of time they spent ministering or teaching, but it could be assumed that they didn’t rest much.
The disciples went from ministering and teaching to personal experience of loss. Imagine the grief they felt when they heard of the death of John the Baptist. Did their minds go to the rejection that Jesus encountered, did the reality of being fallible come through, did they wonder how Jesus would feel at the loss of his cousin and friend, so many things that ‘could’ be, rejection and grief are part and parcel of life. This mimics some of the things that we encounter as we walk the path of ministry.
These two verses nestled in between ministry and life issues, have the oil of protection in them, a safe guard that will help in wise stewardship.
“And the apostles gathered themselves to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, Come aside into a deserted place and rest a little. For there were many coming and going and they had no opportunity even to eat. And they departed by boat into a deserted place.” Mark 6:30-32
The verses show the disciples giving an account to Jesus. Spending time together, talking through all that they had done and taught. Then Jesus took them aside, knowing that the ingredients for rest did not include staying around people who would disturb the perfect peace that was needed to give the rest that brings restoration, the rest that was needed before the next
ministry time. It is important to see the value in both of these principles, there is wisdom in being a wise steward.
To be a wise steward of time means a balance between ministry and personal time. It enables and empowers all to maintain the vigour and passion needed in ministry. “Now is the Time” to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:10) sustained and maintained by the wisdom of Jesus.
Tina Russell-Mott (@agapetina)
Some while ago, when I was on a mission in Uganda, I asked the teenage Son of my host as we were walking through the village, if he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He replied ' to be an evangelist like you' - he quickly followed this remark by asking the question 'What qualifies you to be an evangelist'?
I thought for a moment, and then replied ' well I've been to college, I have a piece of paper that says I've done a certain course and passed the grade, I have a lot of experience working in different situations, including Christian ones, but I don't think any of that qualifies me to be an evangelist' I continued...' I think what qualifies a person to be an evangelist is what God puts in their hearts, It's the passion he gives someone to tell others about Him'.
Thinking about that now it seems quite a simplistic answer, but true none the less. So often we can look to others to give us
affirmation, counsel and acceptance that we need, which is right and good - 'in the multitude of counsellors there is safety' (Proverbs 11:14) but there is something deeper than outside counsel that God puts within us.
It's interesting that Jesus called the likes of tax collectors, and fishermen to follow Him. Folks that were just ordinary people - but people that God used to turn the world upside down. Even the religious leaders, when they saw 'the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated men and untrained men, - marvelled'. The key? ....'they realised they had been with
Jesus'. (Acts 4:12)
It's our relationship with Jesus and what He, through the Holy Spirit puts into our hearts that qualifies us to enter into the
calling he puts on our lives so we may fulfil our destiny in Him.
So if you're feeling 'unqualified' - then just ask yourself, what has God given me? What desires as he put in my heart? What gifts has he given me?
Let that passion rise up within you, step out in faith, and He will carry you, enable you, and equip you in your service to Him.