This article originally appeared in the Charlotte Observer, 8/17/1930. Copyright “Friends of Vance Havner” 2022
Sometimes when I run across one of these wild, excited revivalists or reformers who thinks he is delegated to save the world and do it right now I think of the patience of the Master.
He came upon the supreme mission of all time, to reveal God in a perfect personality, to live the Ideal Life, to save a world. And He had about 33 years to live.
Did He leap into that task excited and feverish, working night and day, sweating and storming and standing on His head to draw a crowd? Did He go at it on a big business scale with posters and circus tents and an army of experts with a line of lurid sermons to drive the sinners into the fold?
He did not. People were going to hell all around Him then as now. About the same spiritual conditions prevailed. But the Master was not worked into a frenzy. With only 33 year to live He worked until 30 in a little village woodworkers shop with His hammer and saw. Why didn’t He lea out as a boy preacher and set the woods on fire?
Jesus was not in a hurry. He spent those 30 years increasing in stature and knowledge and favor with God and man – in other words, building a character, for He knew that no sermon is effective that has not first gone through the experience of the preacher. If more preachers followed His example there might not be so many of the Ephraim sort which the Bible calls “cakes not turned” – half baked, as it were. I include myself in this line-up for I was a “boy-preacher.”
When Jesus did begin His ministry He “took His time.” Part of the time He worked with the throng; then He went to the hills and quiet places for meditation and prayer. He mixed sociability with solitude. He did not work all the time. He knew that He could do better work if He combined His labors with rest and quietude than if He strained at high pitch relentlessly. He honored the old verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” We make such a fuss the still, small voice is drowned out by our own racket.
I was once a victim of the preacher’s fever. I thought the world had to be saved right now. I advertised myself as speaking 800 words a minute! And at that I said nothing. Then I began to study the Savior’s method. He was not a victim of modern speed and efficiency. He spoke the truth and then let it care for itself. We worry trying to be impressive and convert others instead of letting God speak through us and use the message in His own way. Jesus selected some raw discipline that were anything but efficient. They would have been the despair of a modern business expert. But Jesus simply lived His truth among them and time did its work.
He did not despair because people would not accept Him and His message. He was willing to Leave His work for time to vindicate. Truth does not hurry. But is always arrives.
We must learn no only to labor but also to wait. The Bible advises, “Wait on the Lord.” Some of us are God-chasers, we are perpetually running after God instead of being still while God comes to us.
Don’t hurry. The world cannot be saved in a day. Study the habits of the Master. The frantic and feverish defeat themselves. The Master’s spirit will relieve the friction and tension in your soul.