What if they hadn’t waited?

She’d heard the words herself. There was no need to wait to confirm. When an opportunity presented itself, she let it all out. Little did she know she’d only heard part of the story.

Though I watch it every year, I still get mad at Emma, the nosy housekeeper in the 1954 movie, White Christmas. She eavesdrops on a phone conversation when Bob Wallace is trying to set up a reunion of troops for a special Christmas program, blabs to Betty and almost ruins their chance of happiness. Of course, it’s a movie and everything worked out in the end, but still … if only she’d waited.

I had never thought of it before, but in a recent sermon, my thoughts went to another potential disaster-in-the-making, where it not for these words:

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

What if the disciples hadn’t waited? I can only imagine…

They would have come out of hiding too soon, and without the following of the crowds, like they had at Pentecost, they would have been easily arrested and even killed. (Acts 4:15-22)

They would have lost the opportunity to speak in multiple languages, which drew over three thousand souls into the Kingdom on a single day. (Acts 2:4)

They would not have been able to do signs and wonders, which drew many to Christ. (Acts 3:6-8)

They would not have made the connection between the prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament and all that happened to him, along with what he said to them during his three years with them. (Acts 2:14-40)

They wouldn’t have been able to share as Peter did at Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

They would have lost the courage to stand up against the Jewish leaders. (Acts 4:8)

They would not have been able to continue after their leader left, like the followers of Theudas and Judas. (Acts 5:34-39)

No, man-made movements do not last. I’m so glad the disciples waited.

It makes me wonder how many times I haven’t waited, but move on ahead, like a bull in a china shop, thinking my way is the best way and then having to face the mess I’ve left behind. What can it hurt to wait? Let his Spirit move, guide and direct? Did the disciples miss their chance by staying put those few days? Hardly.

Lord, help me to wait on your Spirit to instigate my every word and deed, that I can then stand back and watch what you want to do in and through me to your glory alone.

Running ahead or waiting? It’s your choice.

Grace and Peace


Acts 1:4 (NIV)




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