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Saved to see

December 7, 2021 - Mark Turman

© Seventyfour/stock.adobe.com

© Seventyfour/stock.adobe.com

Getting to do meaningful work or service is key to a meaningful life. But you have also heard the good reminder that we are “human beings” before we are “human doings.”

There is a sacred rhythm to the ChristLife. From Genesis to today, God built in a pace that is marked by being and doing. My friend and fellow pastor Bruce Miller wrote about this in his book, Your Life in Rhythm.

It’s worth your time.

The waiting game

This past Sunday, I worshipped at South Spring Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, my hometown. I’m in ministry transition these days. It’s refreshing and disorienting to “go to church” rather than to be the preacher after thirty-four years. 

Pastor Chris Legg took us to Luke 2 and the story of Simeon and Anna “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Chris reminded us that waiting is a requirement of hope. He pointed us to Romans 8:24: “Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?” 

I like the idea of having hope. 

I don’t like the requirement of waiting. 

I’m tired of waiting for Covid to go away. I’m tired of variants. I’m tired of the endless stories of scandal, especially in Christ’s church. I’m tired of civil and cultural and global unrest. I’m tired of waiting for revival in the church and awakening in this generation. 

But waiting is required among those who have hope.

Your purpose

As the pastor unpacked the story of these two waiting saints who were among the first to meet Jesus as a baby, I was struck by the idea that as we get older we fear losing our purpose.

If we have a near-death experience with illness or injury, or we lose a loved one, we wonder why God still has us here. We hear people say, “God must not be ready for me yet. God must have something else for me to do.”

These thoughts may have crossed the minds of Simeon and Anna. Maybe they chatted with each other about it to pass the days in the temple courts as they waited.

When that hoped-for day finally came, the Spirit of God guided these two senior adults to this unique baby. (Pastor Chris did a great job pointing out the miracle of this fact.)

When the old man saw Jesus, Simeon knew Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s personal promise to him to see the “light” and the “glory” of God.

With that, he was ready to die.

Our hope

What struck me is that Simeon and Anna weren’t called or “left here” to do much. Theirs was a call to see and celebrate. It was their privilege to see God bring a long hope “in the same direction” (Thanks, Eugene Peterson) to fulfillment.

God kept his word on his schedule. Seeing God’s hope in infant form, Simeon and Anna became witnesses. They saw, sang, and celebrated with Mary and Joseph.

How that must have given affirmation and encouragement to Jesus’ earthly parents. In the middle of the temple court, with hundreds or thousands passing without notice, they saw hope made real.

May God do that again this Christmas in your life and ministry and in mine. 

It will make the waiting worth it.

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