He Who Hesitates Is Lost
My youngest daughter’s water broke. Eli’s birth was imminent, and her mom was in Austin, TX. Jenae was in Tuscaloosa. The call came in the pre-dawn hours, and it didn’t take long for things to kick into high gear. Eli might be coming early, but his Ami was not going to be late.
In moments, my wife, Mary, was heading north on 1-35, then to Love Field, a flight to Birmingham, and then the final leg, a quick drive to Tuscaloosa. She missed Eli’s birth by less than fifteen minutes, but she was there to see her newborn grandson in all of his glory. Like my wife, when the shepherds got the call from the angels in heaven that the newborn Jesus was lying in a manger in Bethlehem, they wasted no time.
“Now as soon as the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see all these things the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in the feed trough. When they saw, they made known these things spoken to them about the child. But Mary treasured up all these events and pondered over them in her heart. So the shepherds departed glorifying and praising God over all that they had heard and seen just as it had been spoken to them.” Luke 2:15-20
Earlier in Luke’s Christmas account when Gabriel told Mary that she would get pregnant with Jesus and that Elizabeth, her older relative, was already in her sixth month of pregnancy, Mary wasted no time. She hurried to the hill country of Judea to visit (Luke 1:39). Now, after Mary gave birth in Bethlehem, as soon as the angels told the shepherds about Jesus, the shepherds made haste.
Luke makes it clear that when it comes to hearing and believing God’s revelation, he honors those who get going. The shepherds could’ve had a theological discussion on the nature of angelic appearances and the probabilities that the heavenly announcement would be made in the middle of the night to working shepherds. Instead of debating, they acted. They immediately went and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby just as the angel told them.
LORD, when I know you have spoken, help me to hurry to obey. Help me to realize that you prove the validity of your Word when I act on it. Guard my heart from the unbelief of Zechariah, who unlike Mary and the shepherds, hesitated when you spoke. And Lord help me get in on all this joy, leaping praise, glory, and enthusiastic sharing that permeates Luke’s account of the birth of your Son. Use me to infect others with the joyous Story.
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