“Jessi come here!” It was my fourth time to call her. Still she, though a mere ten feet away, acted as though she heard nothing.
So, I swept her up in my arms and walked to the bedroom to give the customary discipline for disobedience. Jessica was responding with “excuses-o-plenty,” the leading one being, “I was going to, after I was done . . .”
All of us parents know that delayed obedience is not really obedience at all.
It always amazes me how we try to pull the same number on our Heavenly Father. In a service, several people may feel the undeniable urgings of the Holy Spirit to serve Him among the unreached, and a year later, when I return, they are still in the exact same unmoved position. They have wonderful excuses, but the result is the same: They have not obeyed, and the lost are not saved. Oh sure, they still hold on to a “some day out there” approach to getting to the front, but the urgency is not there. They are barely keeping pace with a stroll through the park, let alone a rescue effort to snatch from the fires of hell men and women from every tongue, tribe and nation.
It doesn’t seem to take much to distract them from this calling, a pastor pleading for them to stay and minister to the sheep (as only they can, he assures them), or a financial opportunity arises that shouldn’t be missed, or it just gets hard, and no one seems to understand. Though we will universally confess that we live in the last days, we act as though there is an endless tomorrow of opportunity. Do you not hear the cry of scripture?
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valleyof decision.” Joel 3:4
When Jesus saw the multitude, he was moved to compassion and action. When we see them, we somehow resist the Spirit of compassion, and very few of our numbers ever make it out into the field of action. This delay brings God no pleasure and costs the souls of countless thousands! A curse be on all who withhold from doing the Lord’s work (Jer. 48:10) and instead squander their salvation and freedom on themselves.
I once heard from a preacher that God was in no hurry. You might as well say that God doesn’t care for those who are daily dying without ever having heard of Jesus once. We know that it is not true. He is not willing that any should perish, and so now He is calling all men everywhere to repentance. I will not rest, nor does the Spirit of Christ rest, until all His precious children are brought in. Does a father sleep when his child is in peril? Can God take it easy when there are billions who have never heard? Can we not be in a hurry when summer’s light is ending and the harvest is far from brought in.
“He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” Proverbs 10:5
As we survey the world - and indeed, see that the harvest is ready, but oh where are the harvesters - I am chilled by the reality that our incompetence, laziness and disobedience to His Great Commission may cost us some of the harvest. A mental picture I think many of us get in our minds is that tomorrow the world will be in the same condition that it is today. So why rush, why push, why strain ourselves? But God solemnly warns,
‘”Behold the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when the plow man will over take the harvesters and the treader of grapes him who sows seeds.’” Amos 9:13
What am I talking about? Won’t time just keep on trucking until we eventually get around to it in our own sweet time? Even in nature a harvest is not harvestable forever. Do you not hear the cry of the lost,
“Harvest is past. Summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20
Do we dare delay? Delayed obedience is really not obedience at all.
By John Zumwalt