Posted by: arieliondotcom | March 21, 2010

Waitenance

WAIT-ENANCE

Genesis 49:10

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (New American Standard Version)

“I can’t wait until..” How would you finish that sentence? What are you waiting for? What are you living for?

When I was a boy we practiced Lent (not eating or doing something for 40 days before Easter). Every year I gave up chocolate (which was the equivalent of having the blood sucked out of my body by spiders, but if I didn’t give something up I’d face nuns with rulers and I’d rather take the spiders every time). I was convinced it was called “Fasting” because I kept hoping those 40 days would go by FAST. And every year I would dream, long before anyone ever heard of the Candy Man song or Willy Wonka, that I was in a room made entirely of chocolate. The table, the cups the dishes…everything. All of that for love of a big chocolate bunny I was looking forward to eating on Easter morning.

That is the kind of feeling we are meant to have looking forward to seeing JESUS, a longing that nothing else will satisfy and that affects how we see the rest of the world and life.

Our Scripture today is Jacob blessing his sons before he dies and telling them about the futures of their descendants. When he gets to Judah he gives the scripture today as part of his prophecy. The true leader of the Jewish people, the Messiah, the spiritual king of kings and LORD of LORDs, will come in the human sense from the descendants of Judah. This is fitting since Judah’s name means praise.

There are variations of how this verse is interpreted but all agree on one thing, the true ruler who will be the final ruler and the one all of the others are leading up to, is coming in the future. Christians believe that is JESUS who came but was not recognized in His humanity as the Messiah and true King of Israel but will return in triumph, physically and spiritually as resurrected LORD of all, not only of Israel but of all humanity, and all creation.

This is what Palm Sunday is about. When JESUS came riding into Jerusalem the last week of His human life, the people, for one moment, recognized Him as who He was, and is, the rightful king, the Messiah. When told to stop their adoration He says that if they did stop the rocks themselves would shout the truth out. The people were longing for Him, but they were longing for a temporary fix for an eternal need. They were looking for JESUS to be a chocolate bunny to satisfy their human appetites for a moment, but He came to satisfy us spiritually forever. So He was largely abandoned, betrayed and crucified as He himself knew He would be.

This is what those in the story of the money bars (talents) is about, too. JESUS tells a story about a group of men who were each given an amount of money to take care of while the boss went on a trip. While they were waiting, some of the men invested the money wisely and made more money for their boss while He was away. But one said that since the boss was a stinker, he should only get back what he gave and buried the money to give back only what he was given and nothing else. Those who treated the money as if it was their own and made the most of it for their boss, investing it wisely, were rewarded by the boss when he returned in keeping with their faithfulness to Him. The one who was unfaithful while waiting had nothing to show for the time spent and was punished. Ironically, using what the boss had given as if it were their own was the key to making the most of the gifts and of life for themselves for the men who were faithful.

It matters how we are waiting, for what, and for whom. If we are waiting for marriage, jobs, children, families, houses, health…all of those are only temporary gifts given to show us how good GOD is. And even when that desire we are waiting for is fulfilled there will be more longings we want fulfilled. Even if we think about heaven, then, we think about it in terms of ourselves…pleasure, safety, peace, eternal versions of what we want here and think these earthly things will bring us.

But we are to long not for gifts but for GOD Himself. Selfishness (sin) brings spiritual death. But JESUS bought back our eternal life through His own blood, and death, His selflessness. He invested His life in eternity and rose up from the dead as our life. He is coming as the King of Kings and LORD of LORDs and when He appears those who have trusted Him as our life will find that satisfaction in seeing Him that nothing on earth could bring.

When we are waiting for GOD, we are not waiting for something to happen or something to have. We are investing the gifts His Holy Spirit gives us…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…into other lives in order that they may see Him as the answer to everything they are waiting for. It is “wait-enance”, waiting for the return of JESUS by maintaining the life and love of JESUS toward others as His representatives on earth as if we were ambassadors from another country.

We wait not for the fulfilling of any need but the sight and full companionship of the Beloved we have had glimpses of before. Not the flowers or chocolates or love letters, but the One who sent them as a reminder of His Love, of Himself.

If you’ve never tasted chocolate it would be silly for me to expect you to be as excited about it as I am. That’s why GOD invites us to taste and see His goodness, to accept what He provides freely. JESUS offers us all of Himself, cleansing from sin, strength to live throughout life no matter what we have or want but don’t receive, and the strength to so overflow with His life that we can pour it out into others until they can taste for themselves.

I stopped Lent when I realized that I made it about feeling like I earned the right to chocolate on Easter by giving up chocolate for 40 days. Easter changed to Resurrection Day for me when I realized there is nothing to earn. JESUS has already given me eternal life because of what He has done, and nothing here or now can take the place of longing to see Him, to hold His feet and thank Him as my Master and King as well as Master and King of all things, seen and unseen. I pray that you will find that joy too and will give yourself to Him who gave Himself for you so that you will long for His appearing too. I can’t wait!

Scriptures used in this message:

Luke 19:37-40, Matthew 25:14-30, 2 Corinthians 1:, Psalm 42:1; Colossians 3:4, Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 1:6; Psalm 34;8; Isaiah 55:1;2 Timothy 4:8

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