People can get pretty freaky when something new is introduced into their environment. Recently, here in the Wellington region, we had a whale come and stay in the Wellington harbour for a bit over a week. What was an already beautiful and busy harbour, all of a sudden became a crazy hive of activity, filled with people just trying to get a glimpse and a blurry photo of this whale. Of course, it didn’t stay ‘the whale’ for very long. In a very short amount of time he was named Tyler Matariki. Then everyone was like, ‘why the flip is he Tyler?’ So the Tyler part was dropped and he was just called Matariki. There was a Facebook page called ‘Matariki the Wellington whale’, in which someone posted statuses and photos pretending to be Matariki, such as, “Can you spot me today?” The page attracted over 13,000 followers. People were stopping their cars on a four lane highway so that they could try and get a photo. Let the stupidity of that settle in your brain: grown adults stopping their car on a 100km/h, four lane highway, putting theirs and everyone else’s safety in danger, so they could try and get a photo of an animal.
Let’s suppose Matariki stayed in the Wellington harbour for the rest of its life. How long do you reckon it would take people to get bored of it? A month? Six months? Eventually the excitement would wear away for most people and it would become a trivial matter that everyone kinda just knew. The only people who would still get excited would be the people who invested themselves in this whale on a regular basis.
This same principle can be applied to what we would call ‘back sliding’. Some people have incredible encounters with God and they just can’t wait until the next time they get to pray and read their Bible. Then two weeks later they are living their lives as if they had never met God. I will be the first person to stand up and point my finger at myself as being guilty of this.
When we have an encounter with God it is so important that we continue to fellowship with him or else we will become like the bored whale people. The newness of the experience will wear away, and you will end up just living your life with God in the harbour and you living out your crazy busy life all around him, but not with him. You will know that God is there, but when you don’t strive to continue your relationship with God, you become a bored whale person, striving after your own passions and desires and not seeking out God and his will for you, which is so individually and specifically designed just for you!
Be an active whale person, not a bored one. Matthew 13:1-23.
Today, I was sitting on the bus on the way home, constantly looking at my phone only to see the minutes go by slower and slower... and slower. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m impatient. I promise I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, but I used to be pretty bad.
I remember, it was a couple days before Christmas one year, my family left me at home to go and grab some last minute gifts, and I couldn’t stand waiting any longer. Looking at those wrapped gifts was eating me up inside. I just HAD to peek.
'No one was home. What they didn’t know couldn’t hurt them, right?' and 'You’ve waited for so long Denae. You deserve a little peek!' were some of the thoughts circling my head.
So I rushed to the cupboards and grabbed the wrapping papers identical to the ones wrapped around my presents, tape and scissors, and sat myself down in front of my gifts under the tree.
I ended up opening ALL my gifts... plus some of my sisters just to make sure I had the better presents! I then got ready to start re-wrapping my presents and realised that I can't actually wrap gifts at all, even if my life depended on it. I couldn’t back out now, though, so a couple of paper cuts later, I finished wrapping my presents to the best of my abilities aaand... let's just say I don’t get to see my presents anymore until Christmas morning.
Impatience is something that can consume us entirely. It also causes us to not think about the consequences at times when we get so desperate for something. I didn't think about what was going to happen after opening the gifts early, and I was left with a pretty uneventful Christmas because I didn’t feel the same joy as the rest of my family when it came to gift opening time. It can get to a point where you just can't bear it any longer.
Did you know the Bible says that even God is impatient? Not in the same way we feel impatient, but instead God has an 'everlasting impatience' for our suffering.
Judges 10:16 says, "Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer." He can’t bear to see his children suffering and dealing with sin. He is so desperate and anxious to take our problems away from us.
In one of my favourite songs, the chorus talks about the 'Reckless Love' of God and says:
"The reckless love of God.
Oh it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away."
Isnt it absolutely incredible - the fact that our Father is so impatient over our distress that He doesnt think about the consequences when it comes to us. He’s willing to leave the ninety-nine sheep to find us, to chase us down until we’re found. Even in times where we aren’t deserving of his love, but that unworthiness doesn’t stop Him, and it never will.