2 Peter 3: 8
We live in an age of speed.
Cars waiting for the light to change poise like rockets on launching pad.
Elevators that stop at every floor tax our patience.
You can see people even running up the escalator.
Jets fly the Atlantic so quickly, that it's possible to get mugged in London and New York on the same day.
But what seems to be speedy may turn out slow, and what seems delayed may turn out fast.
The car that catapults from the corner may be stopped by red light or by a turning truck or by a traffic problem,
while a slower-starting vehicle may overtake and pass the impatient driver.
In the Lord's sight one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Picture two men coming to Jesus in His carpenter days, each asking help in the building of his house.
One man moves away from a spot near the cliff where it is difficult to dig to a place near the sandy river bed,
which was dry most of the year.
Jesus warns, "Build on a rocky foundation, even though it takes time.
When the storms come and the stream swells, you'll be sorry if you take the fast way
to build on the sand."
But he disregarded Jesus' advice.
However, the other man resisted the shortcut approach, and builds on rock, which demanded
struggle, energy, and time.
Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount with the story of two such men,
one of whom discovered a principle of the upside-down kingdom the hard way.
When the rains destroyed the hastily improvised lodging, the first builder learned that fast is slow.
When the second home stood, that builder experienced the truth that slow can be fast.
Some years ago' I read that a Navy jet fighter shot itself down over a Nevada desert
while testing a new cannon mounted on its wing.
The plane was flying at supersonic speed, but the cannon shells were subsonic.
The fighter actually ran into the shells it had fired seconds before.
The jet was traveling too fast for its own good.
A driver in a hurry races a train to the crossing and loses the race.
A young man quits high school to take a job, but after a few, futile years of trying to be promoted
in his company, he discovers the need for more education, so he goes back to school.
Starry-eyed teenagers, marry too soon and suffer through several rough years,
which could have been avoided had they waited.
We hurry through a repair task, find ourselves all thumbs, bungle the job badly,
and have to do it all over again.
To return to work too soon after an illness, may mean another recuperation period.
Proverbs says, "An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning
will not be blessed at the end."
(Proverbs 20: 21, NIV)
A fast dollar may lead to slow time behind prison bars, or to a period of recouping financial loss.
A quick retort may precipitate a quarrel, resulting in a prolonged grudge.
Sometimes, We Travel Too Fast For Our Good.
We are too busy to write a letter, make that phone call, remember that anniversary, visit that sick person,
witness to that unbelieving friend, bake that cake for the sick neighbor, or give time to our family...
Busyness May Be Bad.
By living at a fast pace, or by trying to do too much in a limited space of time,
we may merely go through the motions, or spin our wheels,
or hurt our health, or do a lousy job, and lose out time-wise in the end anyway.
Busyness, even in our Lord's service, may have a more deadly result than jangled nerves,
temper tantrums, and fatigue.
As someone has said,
"For the communion of saints we can substitute the commotion of the saints."
Instead of going about doing good, we may settle for just going about.
Agitation and activity, even on behalf of a fine program, may find us bustling on the periphery,
instead of digging in at the center of the faith.
A missionary, on furlough, boasted that he had not taken a vacation for nine years.
In his 10th year, he had to stay off 10 months to regain his health.
This was the equivalent of his neglected annual month's vacation for 10 years.
Slow Is Fast.
Some things cannot be done in a hurry, no matter how strong the impulse to achieve instant goals.
There are no shortcuts to success.
Even personal grooming consumes time.
Getting your education may slow you down, but later, you may climb the corporate ladder
more swiftly and surely.
Growing in the Christian life requires time.
It takes time to raise a family.
A lady said to the mother of four, fine grown sons,
"I'd give 30 years of my life to raise for boys like yours!"
"That's exactly what it cost me!" Came the reply.
It takes time to make friends.
Companionship is not won overnight, but demands the expenditure of many, many hours
in genuine, warm involvement with another.
Friendly conversations, babysitting for neighbors, or running errands may prove a judicial use of time
to open the door to later, God-directed witness.
It takes time to make a marriage work, develop talents, to write or read a book,
conduct a scientific experiment, to...
God Uses Delays.
Even the delaying of our plans is in God's hand.
In the hour of delay and desperation, we fret and cry out, "How long, O Lord?"
Though we don't like delays, there are times in God's schedule when slow is fast,
for the stops as well as the starts of a good man are ordered of the Lord.
Often in the Bible, history, and experience, God has proven to be always on time,
in fulfilling plans, answering prayers, relieving pain and perplexity,
and supplying preparation and guidance for the future.
Delays May Mean Later Blessings.
Dr. F. B. Meyer said,
"There may have been long delays in the fulfillment of promises; but delays are not denials,
and it is better to let the fruit ripen before you pick it."
When Dr. Bob Cook, who was then president of The Kings College, was in India
conducting religious services,
his group arrived at the airport for their plane home.
The airline clerk said, "I have no record of your reservations."
In spite of pleadings, the clerk was firm.
They had to wait two days before getting a flight.
Later, they learned that the plane, they wanted so much to take, had gone down with no survivors.
Delay Is An Excellent Test.
Time is an excellent test.
For the young lady who wonders, if her admiration for her boyfriend, is love or just infatuation,
the best advice is -- wait!
Infatuation will die out; the real thing will grow.
Our projected plans should be subjected to the test of time to see if they are truly the will of God
or mere wishful, thinking.
George Mueller said,
"Never be in a hurry in deciding questions of great importance, for whenever God speaks to us
about anything, He always gives us time to recognize His voice."
We should remember the words of Jesus, who said to His busy disciples,
"Come ye yourselves apart into a deserted place, and rest a while;
for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."
(Mark 6: 31)
Charles Spurgeon said, "It's either come apart and rest awhile, or you'll come apart."
The psalmist said, "I wait for the Lord...My soul waiteth for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning." (Psalm 130: 5-6)
Taking time to be holy by reading the Word of God, and taking time to pray in the morning
will always make the day go better.
Accomplishing things in the power of the Spirit requires waiting for God -- not rushing ahead of Him.
Peter Marshall told of a Japanese father and son, who farmed a little piece of land.
Several times a year, they would go to the city some miles away to sell their produce.
The father was easy-going.
The sun was a go-getter.
As they loaded the oxcart one morning,
the son calculated that they should reach the market by the next morning.
The father replied, "Take it easy. You'll last longer!"
The son argued, "By getting their earlier, will get better prices."
At noon they came to a little house by the road.
"Your uncle lives here. Let's say hello."
"We've lost an hour already," complained the young go-getter.
The son squirmed while the older men chatted for an hour or so.
They left, and later came to a fork in the road.
The father chose the longer route.
"It's more scenic."
"Don't you care about time?" The son replied.
"Very much," said the father.
"That's why I like to use it to for looking at worthwhile things."
The son didn't look at the beautiful sunset; he was too busy counting the produce in the cart.
He muttered, "Never again will I come with him.
He's more interested in scenery than money."
Early the next morning, the son shook his father awake.
At sunrise they came upon a farmer, whose wagon had fallen into the ditch.
The father insisted on helping.
When the son objected, the father commented,
"Someday, you may be in the ditch."
The son fumed over the loss of time.
By the time they resumed the journey, it was almost 8 AM.
Suddenly, a great flash split the sky!
Then a noise, like thunder, followed.
The old man remarked, "Looks like a big storm in the city."
"If we hadn't been so slow," gloated the son,
"we would have sold our stuff by now, and have been on our way home by now."
"Take it easy," repeated the father. "You'll live longer."
Not till early afternoon did they reached the top of the hill overlooking the city.
What they saw made them speechless.
Finally, the son spoke, "Father, I see now what you mean."
They turned their cart around, and drove away from what had been the city of Hiroshima.
God may slow you down, or may stop you in your tracks.
He may place you on hold, or even put you in reverse, but He will get you where He wants you in His time.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White