If God has hinted at your purpose in life, or if you are welling up inside with a dream that is yet unfulfilled, should you wait on the Lord in prayer until it is released? Or should you get off your butt and go make it happen? This is one of the greatest dilemmas I’ve seen among “charismatic” believers.
One the one hand, waiting on God demonstrates a humility that acknowledges God as our Source of life, blessing, and provision. On the other hand, waiting on God can also become a stagnant lazy inactivity that wastes a life instead of stewarding the talents God has given.
Some people rush out to “be responsible” and they live at a frenetic pace that harms their health and well being. Other people wait for permission to live and they watch the world go by with nothing to show for it.
Back to good ‘ol Joseph
Preachers and teachers lose to use ‘ol Joseph as an illustration of waiting on God. They focus on the fact that Joseph received a promise or glimpse into his future at a young age, and then a decade or two went by before he saw it happen. Also worth noting is that he had no control over the King’s decision to call him out of the prison.
On the other hand, while Joseph did wait a long time to see the vision fulfilled, he served faithfully in Potipher’s house – with such excellence that he was promoted to second in command. That’s not something that happens quickly or easily. A slave has to prove himself so many times to be trusted and respected.
Then Joseph was falsely accused and he lost his position with Potipher. Thrown in jail, he was the bottom of the food chain again. But Joseph didn’t sit around “waiting on the promises.” He was serving and leading and using his gift.
It’s really all about stewardship
I think that’s the important point. Joseph didn’t wait for promotion to use his gift. That is a mistake I’ve made and I think many people make along the way. God gives us a promise, and we wait to see how He will make it happen. But if we’re not faithfully using the gifts he gave us before the promotion, He has no justification for giving us a promotion. We are not fit to be promoted if we are immature in our talents and giftings.
It’s dangerous to tout the “God promised and He’s not a liar so it’s definitely going to happen” mantra because you make some pretty serious assumptions when you go that route. Surely, God is NOT a liar. But just because one part of your assumption is accurate doesn’t automatically mean the rest of it is.
God is not a liar. God is also not a dictator. He does not force His people to submit and to obey. So His promises open up doors of possibility and promotion that will bless us, but we are still free to balk or run away or choose another path.
Which brings us back to the hustle
So waiting on God AND hustling to steward our talents can happen simultaneously. If you have a teaching gift but never practice teaching, then don’t expect the promotion to public teaching to happen. The promise of God tells you a possible future. Some people believe that God’s promises are guaranteed, but I see that position as a violation of free will.
God makes you a promise, and if you reject it and go your own way, He will not force you to become who he wants doing what he wants. And if we can acknowledge our freedom of choice, then it’s a small step forward to also acknowledge that indecision is essentially a choice. If we do nothing to prepare, then that is our choice. And we experience the consequences of our choices.
What do you think?