When Not to Wait
by Jacob Hudgins
There are times when waiting is entirely inappropriate.
Don’t wait when you’re in sin. Sin doesn’t improve when unaddressed. If we know how to correct sin, we should never wait. This is one reason why baptism is an immediate, urgent action once people here the gospel. “See, here is water,” “Why are you waiting?,” and “the same hour of the night” speak to the folly of waiting when salvation is at stake.
At times we are lured into thinking that sin will be better dealt with at a later time. This is poor thinking. “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long”(Psalm 32:3). Living in sin is hard and we hold no promise of an easier time to repent. There is no justifiable reason not to obey God. Don’t wait!
Don’t wait when action is needed. God rebukes Joshua for praying when Achan needs to be dealt with for his sin (Josh 7:10-13). Jesus illustrates loving our neighbor as the urgent action of caring for those in need (Luke 10:30-37). He urges us to attend to personal disagreements as if they are even more pressing than worship (Matt 5:23-24). Many excuses can be offered—we are too busy, others will take care of it, we need to pray and think more—but waiting is a sinful substitute when situations demand action. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”(James 4:17).
Don’t wait when there is work to do. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going”(Eccl 9:10). Jesus warns that “night is coming, when no man can work”(John 9:4). We don’t have all the time in the world; important things must be done as if they are important.
God lauds the benefits of waiting, but it is possible to misconstrue our inaction as a spiritual benefit. Let us do God’s will now!