Unquestionable Character: A 21-day Study in Stewardship.

Wait for the Lord

There was a long line at the checkout in the department store. The teenager, jingling the coins in his pocket and shuffling his feet, was impatient and grumbling. 'Be patient,' his mom said. 'Patience is boring' was his reply.

In our 'instant everything' society, many people become so used to being busy or entertained every minute that waiting is intolerable. Patience is no longer a virtue but a sign of passivity and dullness. We don't want to hurry up and wait, we want to hurry up so we can hurry to the next thing. We have so much to do and so many places to be that we consider waiting for anything a waste of time.

That kind of hurry sometimes spills over into our spiritual life. We want God to act right now. We need an answer to our prayers and sooner is much better than later. If our children don't get their act together, if the job doesn't come through, if our relative is not healed, we wonder why God is silent. And we lose patience with the process and cease praying altogether.

The psalmist David didn't have the kind of conditioning we do in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it was because he had been a shepherd for many years, and you just can't hurry sheep. Day in and day out, he had waited for the sheep to eat and drink and sleep and then amble to another spot where there was more grass to graze on and another stream to drink from. If you cannot learn to wait patiently while shepherding, you can't learn it anywhere.

At some point David-the-shepherd-turned-David-the-warrior had learned to wait on God. He had learned to seek out that quiet place, the 'house of the Lord,' the sanctuary where to sit and gaze at the beauty of the Lord was his heart's desire. Even though his enemy Saul was hot on his heels, it was a place of rest and safety. It was a place to plead with God to be his closest companion when there was no human connection to be had. It was a place where he had all the time in the world to listen to God - to seek his face. It was a place of praise and joy, not boredom. David's waiting was active. He told his heart to 'be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.' David could not be patient because he had every expectation that God would meet him there 'in the land of the living.'

The steward watching over the master's household is not waiting passively either. There is much to do, but there is also a sense of confident expectancy that the master will return, that the servant will once again see his face, that there will be completion and fulfillment for a job well done (see Mt 25:14-30).