"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Acts 2:4
"But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. " Acts 28:5
Today's thoughts tie in directly with yesterday's thoughts. Kind of a continuation, if you will. Yesterday I shared my heart and how the joy of the Lord is going to make this trial we're about to undertake a piece of cake, but there is something that goes along with it that I think is very important. It's all well and good to have the right attitude, but there is also the part where we need to see what we have to physically do. I shared these two verses here because in both cases, people were not just sitting waiting for God or some kind of magic to take over.
In the first verse, we are at Pentecost, and we see that all of the people there were filled with the Holy Ghost. The verse doesn't stop there. These people don't just receive the Holy Ghost and then sit back and wait for the Spirit to do His thing. Instead, what do they do? They open their mouths and begin to speak. They speak the words that the Spirit places inside of them- they had to physically act to receive the blessing of speaking in tongues. If they just sat there, and did absolutely nothing, waiting for the Holy Spirit to do the talking, they never would have received the blessing and the gift that they did receive.
Then we look on further in Acts to Paul- here is another example of action. While Paul is gathering firewood, a poisonous snake attaches itself to Paul's arm. Now, Paul does know that God will protect him, and that the snake will not actually harm him, but does he wait for God to remove that snake? Of course not? Paul took action himself and shook the snake off.
Both of these are just two of the many examples in scripture where an action was required. I wanted to share this morning, that we don't intend to just sit around and expect that God is going to bless us. We are not going to just sit around and do nothing. Instead, we are going to wait on the Lord, and when a situation feels like it needs action, we'll take action. For us, at least right now, it feels like the action we really need to take at the moment is to ground ourselves in His Word. As much as possible, we need to take in the precious words that are life-giving.
So often you talk to someone and they talk about how God has called them to certain roles in life. I remember as a teenager, going to camp, and meeting all these people who really felt they were being called to be missionaries or youth pastors. But then when it came time for the serious stuff at camp- the Bible study and the prayer time, they didn't want to participate. Or did so grudgingly. Pastoring- youth, children, or otherwise requires knowledge of the scripture. It also requires education. If God were to call me to be a Pastor, there is no doubt that I'd be diving into that Word, and seeking out an education from an accredited Bible school. Sitting around,waiting to "magically" become a Pastor just isn't going to happen. That calling on my life from God would require action from me- the action to fulfill the calling. The action to undertake the Bible study and the Bible schooling.
For us, at this time, that action (at least on my end, as for now anyway) is with proper stewardship. It's very interesting that all year anyway, we've already been working on this- it's just going to get a little more scrutinized. It's been lean around here anyways, so we've already been reigning in the extra purchases. Even the kids have been getting into the act- and they've been so helpful by not asking for treasures every time we go out or go shopping for a few things. Every single purchase, every single dollar I spend gets scrutinized. Do we really need that grocery item? No, I just would like to try it- then it goes back. Do we really need to buy a new DVD for the kids to watch? Hardly, we have plenty already, and with a DVR, we can keep an eye out for movies on TV that we can watch with them. Do I really need some new clothing? Oh man, let me tell you... I want so much to be able to round out my wardrobe, but the facts are that I have clothes, they're in great shape and have plenty of wear in them- they are just not new and trendy. It would hardly be good stewardship though if I dash off and buy a few things but I don't pay my energy bill .
While the stewardship is important on a practical sense, it's also important in a spiritual sense, because it has really helped changed our mindset on things and stuff. Stuff is just stuff. Really, all the things we have in our home is just stuff- it has absolutely no implications on our eternal life. Whether or not I get a few new designer shirts has no effect whatsoever on my eternity in heaven. In fact, when I think about that, and think about how much I'd love to go to Macy's and pick out a few things to treat myself, I can't help but think of all the people who would be better helped by the same money I would spend. Do I need those clothes? Absolutely not. The money would be much better spent if I gave it to a missionary or made a donation to Heifer International and bought a poor family important sustenance. Those are the things that matter, and I'm so thrilled that my kids are even learning this. If they don't have every movie or video game they want, life goes on! They make do with what they have, and choose to spend what they do have as wisely as possible.
I like to call it the act of doing. If we just sat around, waiting for God to bless us, I think we'd miss our opportunity. Instead, we will do. We will act when we hear His voice, and will do so with a joyful heart. That's really what God wants from us, He wants us to be able to hear Him when He speaks, and He wants us to follow through on what He tells us. If He tells us we are to be in a season of studying the Word, we need to do that- and not just sit around and wait for the Bible to magically place itself in our heads. We need to read it to know and understand it. We need to read it to be able to follow through on all the things the Bible tells us.