Wednesday, July 8, 2009

lingering

This morning, I was reading about Lot in Genesis 19. I decided to mix it up a bit and read from my ESV Bible which really drove home a very important point that I've now been chewing on all day. Let me set the stage...

Lot is visited in Sodom by men (angels) of the Lord. First thing in the morning, the men instruct Lot to leave the city immediately because God was going to destroy it. In verse 15, the angels actually say to Lot to get "Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city."

Now, I don't know about you, but when I read that, I thought...MOVE! Get going, Lot! Take off and run out of that city FAST!

But here is the strangest part of the story. The Bible says in the ESV version that Lot "lingered". In fact, he dragged his feet so much that the angels finally "seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand....and they brought him out and set him outside the city." Only by God's grace and mercy did Lot escape Sodom's coming destruction.

After I read this, I thought - what an idiot! The Lord told him to move and he just hung around and twittled his thumbs until God had to move him. Why? Then the Lord reminded me of a past event in my own life...

A few years back as I was visiting some family in Florida, we stopped at Wendy's and there was a homeless man alone in the corner of the restaurant. The grungy man quietly sipped a small cup of coffee while watching all the patrons come and go - ordering their double cheeseburger meals with large fries, etc. The instant I noticed the man, I felt strongly to buy him a meal, give him my Bible and share the Gospel. But here was my problem. I loved my Bible and didn't want to give it to anyone. I also was afraid to approach him and share the Gospel because I was with others and in a busy restaurant. How stupid. I lingered. I did nothing... and the opportunity was lost. I ate my cheeseburger (just like everyone else) and proceeded on with the rest of my day.

But just as God intervened in Lot's circumstance, my story continued and a great lesson was learned. As we headed home, God graciously and mercifully began to work in my heart. During the 20+ hour drive, God showered me with His message of promise that He is in control and that all salvation must be attributed to His mercy and not my own merit. He reminded me that even though I didn't immediately obey Him, He would still use all things to work toward His good. So I decided to trust Him.

Once I was home, I sent a "care box" to the manager of that Wendy's with the best Bible I could find, other resources, and instructions to give the box to the homeless man. If the man never showed, I asked the manager to give the package to whomever he felt could use it. I don't know the outcome of what happened, but I do know that God will use my obedience (even if delayed) for His good.

Lot's is a sad story. But ours doesn't have to be. I encourage you to think about all the things God convicts you to do each day. How quickly do you react? It is important that we learn not to linger but rather JUMP at the chance to follow His leading.

Who knows - someone's eternal life could depend upon it!

2 comments:

  1. I am reminded of a song that I learned as a child "Trust and Obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to Trust and obey"

    God is so patience with us...He is Faithful

    Lord, may I not miss any opportunities to share about You with anybody! Forgive me when I do not listen, help me to listen and hear Your vosie than act on what You lead me to do...In You power, Amen

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  2. Ten years ago I was engaged to a man who's mother was dying of cancer, she knew I went to church and seem'd to respect me for this, when she was very close the death I went to see here alone, and she was very ill, I just sat with her and helped her drink, the thought of sharing the gospel with her did cross my mind but I was too scared to do this, I knew she was going to die and at the time I thought what place did I have to upset the last few days of her life, she had had a difficult life, do I did nothing but tell her that I loved her. When she died I felt as if I had failed her, as I thought she had died without accepting Christ, but God knew I would fail and when the final funeral arrangements were being discussed it came to light that a pastor that visited the hospice, to a lady in the opposite bed to give communion to her , had been approched by my dying friend, she had at this moment accepted Christ and taken communion with him, how pleased I was, but what a lesson this taught me, that I would not hesitate again in a situation like this or let pride stand in my way, if you approach the situation with love it will not offend,everyone needs the chance to get to heaven and know Christ before they die.

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