Sleep on now and take your rest. Matthew 26:45 A friend and I were discussing this very scripture recently.
These are the words Jesus said to the disciples after urging them to stay away and pray with Him.
I have read the above scriptures a hundred times, but it never really hit home for me like it did one day when I heard Denise Renner preach this message at a ladies meeting. She spoke on the importance of the timing of God. She shared how sometimes we fail to discern His timing and it passes us by. We simply can’t get it back. I have thought of her message many, many times since that day.
I think about Daniel, the Bible said that he understood times and seasons. It is a fact that God works in times and seasons. Yet, many of us are guilty at times of not being sensitive to the timing of God. I don’t know about you, but I often feel as if we are in a small window of time and if we don’t move when God says move – that window will close, and we may never be able to access it again.
The world says it this way, “Opportunity knocks once.”
For God, He speaks, He urges us to move in a direction – He tugs at us. Sometimes we obey – but often, we have this dangerous attitude that the same opportunity will be available for an unlimited amount of time. That is not always true. Just as it was with the disciples that day when Jesus was urging them to join Him in prayer. Some opportunities come and go and never come again. Lately, it seems to me as if time were passing more quickly – if that’s true then it is even more important for us to be sensitive to the timing of God. It’s almost as if there is an urgency in the spirit to be exactly where you are supposed to be at the exact time you should be there.
I often think of something I heard a minister say once, he said that God told him to never get arrogant about being the one God called to do certain things. God told him he wasn’t the first man, nor the second, nor the third, but the first three had not done what God had asked.
Sometimes I think of that, and it gives me a lump in my throat. I think of the many times God has instructed me in a certain way and I have hesitated. I have put things off until another day. This is a dangerous attitude. And God is not mocked – whatever you sow – that you will surely reap. In other words, if I sow procrastination, I will reap it from someone. However, if I am quick to obey, then God will be quick to hear and answer when I cry out to Him – you see, it works both ways.
Another thing to consider is this; how many times have we found ourselves in a really bad situation and said to God, “If You will get me out of this, I promise I will do better, I will serve You with all that is inside of me.” Only to go back to life as normal once the crisis is over. The Bible says a man’s word is his bond – how good is your bond? How good is your word? Do you do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. If you make a promise to God – keep it. Don’t make excuses for why you didn’t keep your word. If you do, you will be making excuse after excuse and then one day it will be too late – your time will be over, and you may never be able to get it back.
Jesus had asked the disciples to stand and pray with Him, He asked them three times and then their time was up. He informed them to sleep on, that the time had passed. They could never get back the opportunity to help Jesus to stand at the most difficult moment of His life. What a missed opportunity! What a time to have to say, “Sleep on, it’s too late now.”
I encourage you today – wake up! If there is something God has instructed you to do, get about your Father’s business – don’t hesitate another moment. How many times has He tried to get you to go that way? Don’t wait until He says, “Never mind…sleep on.” Obey quickly.
I also encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of anything you may have forgotten that God told you to do and ask God to give you a chance to do what He has required of you and then get to it! There is great safety in discerning the timing and presence of God – be sensitive to the times and seasons of God and be quick to obey. You will see things turn for your good quickly as you are quick to obey God and His plan for your life.