PUTTING THINGS OFF
By Rodney W. Francis
It is so easy to put things off until tomorrow or another time. However, when it comes to the Christian’s duty and responsibility before God we are taught to not do that. Jesus said: “Do you not say,‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35 ). Jesus was challenging His followers to not put things off until tomorrow, next week, next month, especially those things that are the very purpose for which He has saved us. “They are already white (“ripe”) for harvest”! Can you see that?
Every born-again of the Holy Spirit Christian has been chosen and called of God for a specific purpose. Do you know that?
And that specific purpose needs to be functioning in and through our lives today. It saddens me that there seems to be such a reluctance amongst Christians to get practically involved in the purposes of God. Jesus also said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:36-38 ).
In recent times I have been really burdened about these sayings of Jesus. Why are we Christians not more forthcoming in giving ourselves totally to the will and purpose of God?
We can only be totally fulfilled in this life when we are being obedient to the call and purpose of God for us.
The labourers that Jesus was talking about have to be Christians ~ you and me. Why are we so reluctant to commit to the purposes of God now? The Holy Spirit tells us: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden (“to make dry, hard or stiff” – Bullinger’s) your hearts . . .” (Hebrews 3:7-19 ). Notice it is TODAY! Not tomorrow, next week, next month or next year . . . good intentions, but not committed to putting them into action now ~ today!
In Matthew 21:28-32 , Jesus told about the two sons and how they responded to His call: “Son, go work today in My vineyard”. The first said, “I will not,” but afterward he regretted his response and went. The second son said, “I go, sir,” but he did not go. The first son changed his stance of putting things off and went in obedience to what Jesus said. The second was quick to say he would go, but he did not go (all words but no actions). The first son was honoured by Jesus; the second lost out because of his inaction. When we look through the Gospels we see that time and again Jesus was challenging His followers of the “now need” of our fulfilling His calling in our lives ~ TODAY! To fulfil the purpose and calling of God in our lives does not mean that we only faithfully attend church meetings, or rush off to a theological college to get training. Let us remember the words of Scripture: “But God has chosen (“anointed, selected, preferred” – Bullinger’s) the foolish (“irrational in conduct, stupid” – Bullinger’s) things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base (“insignificant or lowly”) things of the world and the things which are despised (“to make utterly nothing of; contemptible, set at nought” – Strong’s) God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God ~ and righteousness and sanctification and redemption ~ that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ). It is so important that we get to know Jesus Christ personally, be filled with the Holy Spirit Who gives us “power for service” (Acts 1:8 ), listen to His voice and then have a commitment to obey (as soon as possible) what He tells us. What Jesus says to us is exactly right for us. Remember, He is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6 ), and He knows what is best for each one of us. Let us make sure that we believe what the Bible says about us chosen of God ones, so we can rise up more today to fulfil our calling and destiny! Trust Him and obey today!
Putting the things of God off until another time will not only rob us of wonderful blessings through being used of God for His purposes, but we will also be guilty of robbing others of the benefits of the Kingdom of God. When we put things off until another time ~ good intentions but no actions today ~ we are guilty of living with excuses that are not the will of God for our lives. I have learned that as long as I have an excuse that I will always disobey God. On the other hand, my obedience to the voice of God demonstrates to God that I truly love Him, for He said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep (“obey”) My word” (John 14:23-24 ). The Christian life is not about our trying to get God to fit in with our plans, but our love commitment to fitting in with His plans for us. And His ways are so different to ours. That is why we need to hear and know His voice today.
I COULD HAVE MISSED GOD’S CALL ON MY LIFE
When I was first approached to send written Bible Studies to a group of people living in an isolated area of New Zealand way back in 1963, I made excuses and told them that it was not my calling, etc. A few months later they approached me again, and by that time, God had dealt with me about that excuse and attitude. The second time I said I would do that if they supplied me with names and addresses to send the studies to. The result is that in April 1964 The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry was born through sending studies to 27 people. Since then it has continued to grow and grow, until today we are touching multiplied thousands of people in over 220 nations. Scores of people have had “God encounters”, been born-again and been filled with the Holy Spirit, experienced healings, miracles, etc. I am so glad I changed from making excuses to obeying the voice of God!
We all need to be like Isaiah of old, who, when God put out the call to him: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” he did not make excuses, or tell God to get someone else “more qualified”. He responded in a very positive way by saying: “Here am I! Send me”. The result of that immediate obedience was that Isaiah became one of the greatest Old Testament prophets, whose ministry impacted thousands of people.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few”!
How are you responding to this call from the heart of Jesus? Are you putting things off? Are you making excuses that you are too busy, not qualified enough, can’t do this or that? In spite of what the news media reports today of all the negative things happening around the world, our experience is that there are multitudes of people all around the world who are searching, seeking, crying out for answers to their lives and problems. We need to realize and know that only true born-again Christians carry the answers to their every need. Why do I say this? Because virtually all problems are a result of sin (which is not knowing the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives), and things can only be rectified through a total submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus Christ that people can come to the knowledge of the truth. All other religious ideas will not solve peoples’ problems.
HOW CAN WE CHANGE?
If we are guilty of putting the things and purposes of God off until another time, then we need to do something about it. We need to repent of our excuses and apathy, and ask God to fill us with a stronger love for Him than we have ever known before. Ask Him to take out of us those things which should not be there, and to put into us those things that will enable us to respond to His purposes today ~ now! Time is too short for us to be half-hearted about the call and purpose of God on our lives. When we are committed to putting Jesus Christ FIRST in our lives, then we will begin to see some amazing “God happenings” taking place in and through us. He waits for our total commitment to Him. He does not violate our will, but waits for us to yield our all to Him so He can show us what he can do in, with and through us. Hallelujah!
There is no greater calling in this life than to know the will of God for us personally and to be doing it ~ TODAY!
God’s will for our lives is exactly right for us!
We can do whatever He calls us to do!
Rise up in faith and be the person He chose and ordained you to be!