Come Next Spring
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian.”
Almost. What a tragic word. It speaks of potential, desire, and possibility, but it also tells us about the devastation of hesitation. King Agrippa had listened to Paul explain the message of Christ’s forgiveness in great detail. Everyone else, it seemed, w as impressed with Paul’s story and God’s promise of eternal life. The king’s faith, though, was blocked by reluctance, by “what if’s” and “but what abouts.” His reaction was tragic, like the buds of early spring that promise new life but for some reason never flower.
It doesn’t have to be that way. When Jesus spoke to Andrew and Peter, James and John, they listened intently, and then Jesus invited them to follow Him. Immediately they dropped their fishing nets and went with Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20), beginning the greatest adventure life has to offer.
Paul didn’t invite Agrippa to respond until he had heard the full message of forgiveness and new life, and Jesus didn’t invite the fishermen to follow Him until they had heard His story. But at a point, the offer was given and choices were made. Have you heard God’s message? Did you hesitate and miss out on the adventure of a lifetime, or did you drop your nets and follow Jesus?
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
One of the most dangerous assumptions is that we will always have an opportunity to act on something. There are thousands of people betting their souls on the chance that they will have an opportunity to be saved before they die, but not right now. Hundreds of people frequently look back over their lives and mourn the “could have beens,”that they failed to act on in a timely manner. I often wonder if the reason God will have to wipe tears from our eyes is due to us becoming aware of missed opportunities. Proverbs tells us that everything has a time and a season and when we are presented with an opportunity there is a window of time in which we must act. The Bible, in speaking of salvation, says that “today is the day of salvation” and it implies that we ought not hesitate to respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit.
What a sad thing it is to come close, almost, and then in the end to miss out. How sad the Day of Judgement will be for those who heard the gospel message and put it off until it was too late. We dare not assume that God will be endlessly patient. Yes, it is true that He is patient, not willing that any should perish. It is true that He loves us so much that He gave up His only Son for us. But it is equally true that there is a point of decision that once missed never comes again. When we read the story of the Flood, we often see only the judgement of God, forgetting that for 120 years Noah tried to persuade the people to repent of their ways and to turn to God. They mocked him and put off their response to the message until the doors of the Ark were shut and then it was too late. They perished because they failed to respond in the window of opportunity. There will be those who die in their sins because they heard the gospel and failed to respond to it until it was too late. What horror those words “too late” have.
Now for those who grasp the importance of responding in due season, the blessings of God are beyond measure. Consider what the Scripture says when it says, “in the fullness of time.”
But when [in God’s plan] the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the [regulations of the] Law,
So you see there are designated points in time that God designates to work in the affairs of humanity. Any time before and any time after Jesus would have not fulfilled the plan of the Father. In the coming of Jesus, God orchestrated the events and the world conditions. He moved on a pagan emperor to declare a tax registration so that Joseph and Mary would be in Bethlehem at the right time to fulfill prophecy. He moved in the creation of the Roman Empire to create an environment conducive to spreading the Gospel. He moved to have Greek as the common language to facilitate communicating the Gospel. And all this came about in the fullness of time.
Beyond the fact that for the individual, today being the day of salvation, it is equally true that those who are the people of God are called to service at such a time as this. We dare not respond with “almost,” “next spring”, “some other time” for windows of opportunity have a limited time.
We as the people of God must see that we have a window to do the work of God. Jesus said we must work while it is day for the night comes when no one can work. In this state of the world and it’s crisis, the urgency of carrying out the Great Commission is upon us and we only have a narrow window in which to carry it out.
I pray none of us will not answer the call of God as King Agrippa answered, “Almost.”
Dr. John Thompson