The Disciples had spent nearly three years with Jesus. Side by side with the Messiah, hearing and learning all that He taught. Just what were they to do with the information they had? What were they to do with the knowledge? I’m sure they were confused. Not knowing what their future held.
Suddenly, Jesus was back. But only on occasion. So this group still didn’t know exactly what to do.
Some went back to what they knew. Back to their life before Jesus. John 21 tells of such a circumstance. The fishermen of the group were fishing when Jesus presented Himself to them. They had breakfast and Jesus gave Peter instructions. “Feed my sheep” and “Follow me.” But these instructions were vague. Peter’s questions probably continued, uncertain to how he was to follow the instructions.
Then Jesus gave the Disciples further instruction in Acts 1. “On one occasion, while he (Jesus) was eating with them, he gave this this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4 – NIV)
Now the Disciples had to wait. In Jerusalem. For a gift. And that they did. Perhaps they were still a little foggy on what their future role in the Kingdom would be, but they knew by following Jesus’ commands, they were being obedient to their Master.
And wait they did. But they were busy. They replaced Judas with Matthias (Acts 1:12-26). We also see in Luke 24:53 (NIV), “And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.”
The Disciples knew God wasn’t finished with them yet, they just didn’t know how He was going to use them.
I kind of know how the Disciples felt. I’ve spoken the words, “It’s over.” My service trip to SE Asia is over. But now what?
What am I to do now? What does God want me to do with all the information I’ve learned and the knowledge I’ve gained? The same questions that the Disciples had.
My SE Asia team and I are all back to old routines. Back to our way of life before the trip. Meetings, family life, group gatherings, writing. Nothing seems to have changed, and yet I am changed. Perhaps some of the same feeling the Disciples felt.
So really, now what?
I believe I can do exactly what the Disciples did.
I can wait.
This is probably the hardest part of this plan. But if I look at it with anticipation, the wait will be more exciting. There will be unexpected revelations along the way and I will be able to see God through it all. And isn’t that worth the wait?
I can stay connected at church.
The Disciples “stayed continually” at their church. I don’t think that is feasible, but I do believe any time spent in God’s house and with His people is time well spent. These connections allow me to share my journey and keep my experiences fresh in my mind. And of course, listening to Scripture, worshipping God and hearing God’s message proclaimed will allow me to stay in tune with God’s leading.
I can praise God.
This is an easy one. Remember the old tune, “Blessed Assurance?”[i] The chorus states, “This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.” How privileged I am to be able to praise God all day long!
I know for certain that God will show up at just the right moment and say, “Now…this is what I want you to do.” I cannot wait for that moment!
If you are going through a similar situation, take a look at the steps listed above. Implement them into your life. Know that God is with you through it all and He does have a plan. You need to be obedient and patient. He will come through.
Of course, we know how God used Peter and the other Disciples. After the Holy Spirit fell upon them, great messages were spoken. The Church was established. Gentiles were invited into the Kingdom. And their efforts were substantially magnified because God was in the middle of it.
I don’t know if God will use my service trip to this degree, but I do believe He isn’t finished yet. There is much to process. There is much to share. There is much for God to be part of. And when God is in the middle of it, there is no telling what the outcome will be.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,