But Wait — There’s More!
I hear this is a true story. There was once a shepherd in the Scottish Highlands who received a pup as a gift. The unmarried, childless man raised the dog with great love and care. He and his dog were inseparable, whether at work or at play.
After several years, the old shepherd died. They put him in a casket, carried him to the town cemetery, and buried him. The dog watched these proceedings with great interest, and when the last shovel of dirt was placed over the grave, the mournful dog climbed up on the mound of soil, and laid down.
No matter how he was enticed, the dog would not leave the grave. Bones, food, pats and whistles would not budge him. Finally, the townspeople grew weary of trying to relocate the hound, so food and water were brought daily to the dog who was so determined to wait until his master woke up.
The little sheep dog didn’t maintain his vigil over his master’s grave merely for weeks or months. He was there for almost seven years summer and winter, rain or shine, patiently waiting. The townspeople woke one morning to find the old dog lying on the grave as usual, but his life was gone now too. They buried him beside his beloved master.
Think of it: seven years of waiting on his master. No scratches behind the ears from him; no encouraging words; no treats; no positive reinforcement whatsoever, and yet he stayed. It shames me to think of how often I have given up and gone home when my Master seemed silent and unresponsive.
Waiting can be boring, seemingly unproductive, and downright maddening! And yet, time and time again, we are enjoined in the Word of God to “Wait on the Lord.” Why? because the when of God’s will is just as important as the what of His will.
Disciple makers must always be aware that God orchestrates two major phases in the maturing process of a believer.
Phase One relatively short and sweet has to do with the development of faith.
Phase Two which lasts the balance of a lifetime focuses on the development of enduring faith.
It’s relatively easy for a young man of 20 to decide to trust God for the selection of his future bride; but how does he feel on the subject when he’s 35 and still unmarried?
As disciple makers, it’s imperative that we co-labor with God in this process of producing enduring faith in the hearts of His children. Help those you are discipling keep perspective in periods of obscurity, inactivity and unanswered prayer . Those frustrating periods are often divinely designed simply to beef up our “enduring faith” muscles. But sometimes those fallow seasons come because the timing of God-based activity is crucial, and He’s just not ready to launch the prayed-for action. That’s why Jesus told us to “keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking”. Without occasional silence from God’s side, we’d never develop faith that would remain firm over the long-haul. We’d never build this precious, sheep-dog-like, enduring faith if God immediately jerked the door open every time we put our knuckle to it.
Here are a few analogies you might share with your disciple when he or she is going through a period of apparent unresponsiveness from God:
Tall Building Deep Foundation
I have a friend who worked across the street from the Columbia Seafirst Center in Seattle second tallest building west of the Mississippi. During its construction, she and her co-workers wondered if the building would ever gain any altitude, as the builders spent months simply digging a hole. The foundation for this lofty structure eventually went down thirteen stories then they started work on the more visible portion of the building.
From the moment of conception, the baby exists. But for nine months, he or she must participate in crucial processes hidden from view. This period is vital to his or her survival and cannot be hurried. From the mother’s perspective, the final month of pregnancy can be agony physically and emotionally. But again, there is no way to hurry it along. There is no alternative to simply waiting.
Yesterday we finished laying the foundation for our new home. Right now it’s just sitting there. Twenty-seven days from now, it will still just be sitting there. Why? Bad scheduling on my contractor’s part? No, he realizes it will take that concrete twenty-eight days to cure and reach its full strength. He doesn’t want to risk cracking it by building on it too soon. It doesn’t seem like anything is happening out there. But things aren’t always as they seem.
The above article, But Wait – – There s More! is written by Ron Pasley. The article was excerpted from: www.pastors.com web site. May 2013.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.