Saturday, January 16, 2016

Who Sets Your Pace?

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” – John 2:4

         Jesus refused to be hurried; He set His own pace. Jesus spoke these words to Mary, not to “put her in her place,” but to remind her of His; and to let her know that He would follow His heavenly Father’s timetable, not hers.

         Here’s the thing: It’s always right to do the right thing; but it’s always best to do the right thing at the right time (Eccl. 3). It’s always right to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord…and rejoice, and sing praise” (Psl. 98:4); but in the pediatric ward of a hospital at two a.m. is probably not the right time to do it! And even actions that should and will eventually be done should not automatically be goaded into doing willy-nilly. It was right for Mary to help Martha, but that didn’t mean it had to be her top priority at all times, or that she had to do it right now…especially when she had an opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His words (Luke 10: 39-42). There will always be “good reasons” for when we seemingly must act immediately, straightway, and posthaste. Here are just three of them:

         When it’s a good thing – In our story in John, running out of refreshments for your guests at a wedding was no small thing, even more so than today. Not only was it socially embarrassing, you could actually be fined for it! And indeed, the fact that Jesus did perform a miracle by changing water into the depleted wine proves it was a good thing to do. But whether something is done soon after or long after the request does not take anything away from its goodness. As we have already pointed out, Mary’s request called for both granting and postponing. There was more at stake than the wine and the wedding. Boundaries needed to be laid.

         When we’re asked by a good person – What son does not want to please his mother, and especially one who had already proved her submission to God and love for Him. And one of the last things He did on this earth was to make sure she would be lovingly cared for the rest of her life by the apostle of love (Jno. 19:27). He was bound to His mother by an earthly conception; but He was bound to His Father by an eternal association. They had been and always will be One. The best person on earth could never trump that relationship.

         When the timing seems impeccable – There would never be a more perfect moment to do what He was going to eventually do. He could give His mother honor she deserved, rescue a wedding party, and proclaim His kingship in one fell swoop. But it would seem, only one of these outcomes came to pass. The wedding was indeed rescued by the best wine, but His mother’s place was not recognized, and the story indicates that no one except the servants even knew that a miracle had taken place (v. 9). But Jesus would not be hurried. His “hour was not yet come.”  He (or rather, His Father) would set the pace.

         If you have not already found a way to apply this truth to your own life, let me guide you a little by reminding you that all of us are susceptible to being goaded into making a quick move or decision by either others or ourselves. “It’s the right thing to do, do it now!” With some things, that’s true; but with others, postponement may make the difference between a good result and a great one. And this is true, even when the best person we know is encouraging us to act immediately either in our, their, or someone else’s best interest. Reliability is not the same as infallibility. In addition, never assume that an opportune time is always the best time. We don’t always see the whole picture. That’s why day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment connection with God through the Holy Spirit is so vital. He alone is equipped to set our pace.

         So, who sets your pace, friend of mine? You? Others? Or God?

“He that believeth shall not make haste.” – Isa. 28:16b

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