He called them,
they left the boat and their father,
and followed Him.
“He who hesitates is lost.” Oxford Dictionary categorizes this as a proverb and defines it this way: Delay or vacillation may have unfortunate or disastrous consequences. A good Biblical equivalent might be these words from Proverbs 1: For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.
For many weeks I’ve been pondering what it is I do when I hear a voice behind me saying this is the way, walk in it. Specifically, I’m thinking about my initial response to that Voice. Jesus says, in John chapter 10, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. My part, as the sheep, is to HEAR and to FOLLOW.
The part of that equation that I can’t escape for now is the timing of my following. It seems that generally there are two responses when I hear His voice. One is very simply that I hear and follow. I don’t question or hesitate. But that, I find, is often NOT my default response. More often, there is some kind of hesitation, some period of time where I might do a number of things leading up to actually acting. But of those possible variations, I most frequently pause to make my own assessment of my surroundings… to, in essence, validate God’s directive. Hum.
Is that assessment period a form of hesitation? And if it is, what might the implications of hesitating be? What might I be risking? What might I lose at that moment?
- Abraham gets giant kudos for his unquestioned response to God’s life-altering directives. He simply did what God told him to.
- Moses argued after God gave him his marching orders. God got seriously miffed but mercifully allowed Moses to express the “flaws” in God’s idea.
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, is lauded for her immediate acceptance of God’s plan for her life.
- Zacharias wanted some substantiation after the angel Gabriel informed him of the son his wife would bear. That didn’t go so well for him.
I see a pattern of God’s grace offered to those who hesitate but eventually comply. But, as Zacharias discovered, there was also a price for that hesitation.
On the cusp of a new year, I’m asking God what He would want me to pay special attention to. This idea, that I would mature in the immediacy of my responses to Him, is definitely on the front burner.
I wonder if there aren’t gems that can only be discovered through prompt obedience, gems that go by the wayside when I hesitate. I want the blessings that accompany an immediate “YES.” I want to honor God whether or not I understand the implications of His direction. His word should be enough for me.
My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them
and they follow me.