Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 130; 148, 2 Samuel 19:24-42, Acts 24:24-25:12, Mark 12:35-44
Governor Felix of Caesarea, where Paul stood trial for accusations made by Jewish leadership of Jerusalem, was familiar with and curious about the Way (an early name for Christianity). He invited Paul to speak with him about faith in Christ. Notoriously cruel and lusty, Felix grew afraid when Paul spoke of “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.” He dismissed Paul until a more convenient time. Two years later after Paul had failed to offer a bribe and Felix was replaced as governor, Paul remained in prison
Apparently a “convenient” time for faith never presented itself. Felix was neither ready nor willing to embrace the Way, and Paul suffered for it. Procrastination is a trait that not only harms the procrastinator, but can result in unfair, unpleasant consequences for others. Perhaps this is most apparent in a work environment, where one person’s procrastination causes delays, difficulties, and stress further down the line. But what of spiritual procrastination? Who does it harm?
Maybe we can think about it like cleaning a closet – a task most of us put off as long as we can. Findings things becomes increasingly difficult. Eventually the closet may cease to be useful, and becomes storage for things we vaguely recollect but never use again. The longer we put off following (or more fully following) the call of God, the less likely we are to answer it later. We tell ourselves we’ll get around to it after we put other lives in order, but we never quite do. When we’re desperate we might rummage around for that thing we need that we think is in there, but because we haven’t tended it properly, it’s just more frustrating mess. In the meantime, the hungry stay hungry, the lonely stay lonely, and we spiritually flounder.
Consider the widow whose offering of two small coins Jesus called “more […] than all the others.” She didn’t wait until she had enough money saved to make those two coins convenient, yet her gift was an enormous blessing. Let us do what we can right now, for the convenient time may never arrive.
Comfort: Today is exactly the right day to draw nearer to God.
Challenge: Start something you’ve been putting off. Don’t just plan to start; actually do it.
Prayer: God, I surrender myself to you today, and trust you will provide tomorrow. Amen.
Discussion: Felix was waiting for a bribe from Paul. When we effectively tell God “I’ll get around to that after [fill in the blank]…” is that like demanding an unearned favor before doing the right thing?
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