Waiting for the Train
There are times to wait and times when we should not be waiting. Re-examining the call of God in your life. Are we really waiting for the train?
Lets talk a bit more about this…
Note from Kip…
As he sat on the side of the track peering down the rails, his foot was light tapping out a rhythm on the concrete floor beneath the bench. He pondered to himself about the invitation that he’d received.
Did he get the date wrong, or the time? He’d been sitting there for nearly 4 hours and still no train.
“Could I have miss read the message?”, he questioned his less than receptive mind.
It had appeared when he got the message that it was this train he was to get on board and take to the destination described in the note.
But where is the train?
The gentleman’s name was Christian. He was all but certain that this message that had come to him out of seemingly no where was intended for him. He’d prayed about it many times and even struggled a bit while he tried to resolve the ramifications of this request that had been imparted to him.
“So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Matthew 20:16 (CSB)
“What on earth could that mean?”, he pondered.
Now, after all the indecision and internal debate, he was ready. He had his bag packed. He had cleared his schedule. He had even done some research on his destination. All the preparations had been completed but instead of riding that train out of the station, here he sat, waiting. Waiting for the train.
The Last – First?
How often are we just like the young man waiting for the train? We know deep in our heart that God has delivered His message to us, letting us know exactly what he wants us to do, and even though we struggled with the decision, we are prepared and ready to get this party started.
But upon our willingness to accept that call to action, we find that the train we were told to get on board hasn’t even shown up at the station yet. We know that verse. How does it go?
Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for him;
Psalms 37:7a (CSB)
Then there is that other one about ‘wings of eagles’, right? This okay to sit here and wait isn’t it?
You can just feel his confusion.
I’ve been called
God does call us to various tasks and duties. I can and will attest to that without hesitation. But not always does what He calls us to, happen in the time frame that we consider right.
The popular term for this these days is ‘Getting out over your skis.’ I see a lot of well intentioned Christians doing exactly that. They have come to the understanding that God is calling them to something and once they are convinced of this ‘truth’ they are all set to get going. But that is when God, seems to put a hold on things.
What is up with Him?
Oh yes, it very well could be that God’s timing is simply different than we had anticipated, that certainly happens. Right?
It does, but perhaps not nearly as frequently as despite all of our prep work in advance of getting on board this adventure, we still haven’t completed the objectives that He wants us doing. After all…
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
“For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (CSB)
We really need to question our responsiveness to God’s direction if we find ourselves sitting around waiting for the manifestation of a calling to show up on our track. There well may be other things that we need to attend to now, before that train comes.
Second guessing God can be a perilous activity. I can tell you without equivocation that God calls each of us to somethings. I can also tell you that God has calls for different groups of people as well.
For the lost He calls out to them to invite Him into their lives. He wants to adopt them into His family through redemption.
For the redeemed, he calls as well. Each and everyone of us that trust in Jesus for our redemption, has a set of things that we are called to. There are no exceptions, or exclusions, all of us are called to these things.
Called to Love
Somehow we just don’t get it, or perhaps, we don’t get it enough. Paul makes it pretty clear just where God puts his emphasis and that is love! He starts out 1st Corinthians 13 with…
If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (CSB)
So it is obvious that one of the first ‘callings’ for every Christian is to love. Not just a little, but with all we have got to give. Paul wraps up the 13 chapter with this…
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (CSB)
In other words, after all the talk is over there will consistently now and forever remain three things that are critical to God’s Spirit being active in our lives. They are faith, hope, and love – but the one that is really important is love! That is the one you need to focus on. Love is the greatest of those things which are constantly in the aftermath of life.
It’s important, because love is what identifies us with Christ Jesus.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35 (CSB)
Jesus also tells us to Love the Lord God with our our heart, mind, spirit, and strength as well. Then to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And finally, He calls us to love even our enemies! Those that despise us.
Call to be His Disciple
While we are are at it, did you notice the middle part of John 13:35? ‘Disciples’. Jesus was talking about all of us Christians being His Disciples! Not one or two, or even several dozens, but he calls each and every Christian to be His Disciple.
This is the central theme of the the Great Commission. Go and make disciples of all nations. This charge to be His Disciple is for all who believe.
Let us move on.
Call to Forgive
When we have been wronged and are injured emotionally or physically, forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do. But just as with love, Jesus calls us, and expects us to forgive without out condition or reservation.
So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”
Matthew 18:35 (CSB)
And forgiveness isn’t limited to those we associate with, we are called to forgive our enemies as well.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
Proverbs 25:21-22 (CSB)
And no, it’s not easy. But it is your calling.
Call to Obedience
We can also lump in repentance in with obedience in this case, because if you are truly being obedient you will obey and be happy about obeying.
That may sound like a drill sergeant barking impossible orders out, but if we just do what we are being told by God to do just because we have to then we are waisting out time. He wants us obeying because we have realized God is right about what he’s commanded of us and therefore we are also convinced that His way about it is the the right way, our way as well.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
John 14:15-16 (CSB)
Keep my commands, if you love me! Jesus wasn’t splitting hairs when He said this. If you say you love Jesus and then willfully fail to obey Him you are a liar.
There is the tracks
There are a number of other core callings that Jesus has given us that we really need to be focused on constantly, worship, rejoicing, praying, study of His Word, being thankful, being kind, being salt and light. And more too if we are looking for it.
The point is that every Christian has these callings. Every commandment and directive given is a calling for each of us.
There are the tracks! Where is the train? One huge reason the train hasn’t shown up is that we haven’t taken care of the little things before we feel we are ready to take on the bigger things.
The parable of the talents, translates to this calling business very well. You remember the story right? The master gives his servants talents to which he asks them to manage for him. One 10, another 5, and one other only 1.
Now I am not attempting to twist the purpose of the parable around but the principle here is the very same. If God has given each of us callings, why would He then give us an additional calling if we haven’t even attempted to fulfill the ones he’s given us.
Do you really think that Jesus who told this parable would entrust an additional calling to us if we are not willing to tend to the callings we already have?
That might be why that train hasn’t shown up just yet. Yes He may be calling you to preach, or may be calling you to missions, or maybe calling you to some service, but if we are not responding to his initial calls then why would He see us as being prepared for a bigger challenge?
The answer to that is when God leads us to something, He’s going to prepare us for it. If we are unwilling to participate in that preparation, then we are for the most part responding to the call Jesus gives us with a ‘no’.
We sit on the bench as the train station stomping our feet in frustration, but God has told us what He wants us doing. So do it!
When the train arrives it will announce it’s arrival as clear as an engines whistle in the still of the night. You will have. ample time to run to the station and be on board when He pulls in to pick you up. But in the mean time you have callings right now that must be attended to!
I didn’t get the message
Then there is another group of Christians out there that simply are sitting at the station hoping that maybe some day a ticket for one of these trains will fall in their lap and they can respond.
It is no different than the one who feels called to other things that hasn’t been mindful of what they are called to now, you are called as well. Attending to those things which we are called to in the immediate, will set us on the path that God has planned for us moving forward.
So hanging out at the station waiting isn’t going to help. Yes you’re showing your willingness for something else, but you’re not showing your willingness for what you have been given already. So why would you expect a ticket?
If you didn’t get the message, then attend to the callings you have right now. The ones each and every Christian has been called to.
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things
Philippians 4:8 (CSB)
If we are doing what we should be doing, then we will not be sitting at the station, ‘Waiting for the train’. If our wall with the Lord is ‘on track’ then we are attending to those things entrusted to us by our Lord and we are busy with that. If and when He see’s us as being ready for another journey He will bring around the train, and sound off that whistle so we will be able to respond appropriately.
Till then, get out of the depot and get busy. Stop waiting on the train.