A story is told about two frogs who fell into a tub of cream. One looked at the high sides of the tub which were too difficult to crawl over and said, “It is hopeless.” He hated to wait! So he resigned himself to death, relaxed, and sank to the bottom.
The other frog determined to keep swimming as long as he could. “Something might happen,” he said. He kept kicking and churning, and finally he found himself on a solid platform of butter and jumped to safety.
Many of us are like that first frog. We are not very good at waiting. We have grown up in the era of instant everything and our expectations tend to mirror that understanding. We don’t wait in lines well. Too often we tend to think that our time is more valuable than those around us. So we expect to be moved right along.
And generally, we perceive waiting as a waste of time. So we quickly grab for our phones to fill the still moments of life. In our world, waiting is something to be avoided.
But in Luke 2, there is a different sense about that concept of waiting. You may remember that this is the story of Simeon, a devout man in Jerusalem who was waiting for the consolation of Israel (a familiar expression that referred to the coming of the Messiah).
In that passage, the Greek term for “waiting” has several significant aspects to it. First, it means to welcome something warmly, or personally. It carries the idea of waiting patiently or happily waiting with the end in sight. Simeon was joyfully awaiting His Lord’s appearance.
And secondly, that term implies expectant waiting. We are not just marking time, we are purposeful in the pause. While Simeon was waiting for His Messiah, we can imagine him faithfully serving at the temple.
The Bible is suggesting that we need to be active as we look forward to His return. We need to be productive as we wait. We know that the next big eschatological event is the coming of Jesus Christ. And right now we are WAITING for Him. But let’s make sure we are actively, purposefully waiting.
While we wait, let’s be busy doing the work He has called us to do. Each of us have spiritual and personal gifts the Lord expects us to use. Let’s use them! (Maybe we will make some yummy butter in the meantime!)
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus…we are waiting with a sense of joy!