This Bible study has been taken from chapter 10 of LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE
A certain well-known evangelist was attending a convention in Indianapolis about mass evangelism.
Inspired by the stirring messages he was hearing about winning the lost, he went with his song leader to the street corner during an intermission that evening. The song leader stood on a box and began to sing. When a crowd had gathered, the evangelist began to preach. Soon so many people had assembled that the throng was spilling into the streets. The evangelist thought it best to invite the people to follow him to the nearby convention hall where the evangelism conference was being held. Soon the auditorium was filled with spiritually hungry people, and the evangelist began to preach the gospel to them passionately.
After a while the convention delegates returned from their dinner break to find street people now occupying some of their reserved seats. The delegates began to mutter and complain amongst themselves. The nerve of this evangelist to impose himself this way?
who does he think he is? The convention leaders deliberated about what should be done and then sent a representative to the evangelist to tell him their verdict. The evangelist was in mid-sermon when the messenger approached and whispered into his ear. The evangelist stopped preaching and said to the crowd who had come to hear the gospel,
Now we must close, as the brethren of the convention wish to come and discuss the topic How to Reach the Masses? There always seems to be a great divide in life between action and intention, between works and words, between doing something and merely talking about doing it.
And it is in this space, between desire and deed, where most people die in a wilderness of inaction. For every go-getter who is ready to ake the field, there are a thousand professional conference delegates who are content to go on endlessly discussing the need without ever actually doing anything. But the ones who will go on to see God’s will fulfilled in their lives are people of action, initiative, and urgency.
In the Christian world many people spend their whole lives waiting for God to do something for them.
They talk about waiting for God’s timing or provision; they are looking for God to make a way, open doors, and give divine appointments. Although there will certainly be situations in life when we need to wait for the Lord, many times (perhaps even most times, if we are honest) the real underlying reason for our inaction is far less spiritual than we would like to believe.
In the secular world people have the same hang-up, except instead of waiting for God, they are waiting for the right moment or the perfect opportunity. For saint and sinner alike these perfect moments almost never come.
I was talking with a young woman recently who wants to attend a certain Bible college. With whimsical indifference she told me she wasn’t sure when she would go.
She said there were quite a number of obstacles in her way (mostly financial), and she believed that if it was really God’s will, He would prepare the way for her. In other words, she thought that if she was really supposed to attend this Bible college, God would solve all of her problems, pay all of her bills, and roll out a red carpet for her. This kind of thinking makes me want to stand on a table and scream!
Where is the urgency? Where is the passion? Where is the chutzpah? If you want God to part the sea for you, but you are not even willing to get your toes wet, you are living in a fantasy world? this is simply not the way it works. Even when God is fully in something and has ordained it, He rarely arranges all the aspects of our lives so that everything is perfect and easy.
On the contrary, in many cases God’s will for your life will seem like the more difficult path, and it will have to be pursued with real determination. Jesus said, The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force? (Matt. 11:12). God is looking for the burning-hearted, not the faint-hearted.
One of my favorite scriptures is Daniel 11:32,
But the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action? (ESV).
Anyone who knows God and understands His ways will know that God expects us to take action. God cannot bless our good intentions, only what we actually do!
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 21:2831.
There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, Son, go and work today in the vineyard. I will not, he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, I will, sir, but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted? The first, they answered. (NIV).
The moral of the story is clear: good intentions and empty promises are not enough. God is looking for men and women of action! Be ye doers of the word, James says, and not hearers only (James 1:22).
Second Corinthians 9:10 says God gives seed to the sower. God’s way is counter-intuitive. We would say,
God should first provide the seed, then I will sow. But God says,
Sow first, and then I will provide the seed. While we are waiting for God to provide, God is waiting for us to act. It is our demonstrated faith that moves God’s heart and hand, not just our need.