S24P11 – The work of the Spirit: enabling
He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”
Being charged with carrying on the work of Jesus Christ on the Earth can seem rather daunting. Who would believe that he is capable of such a calling? It is no different than many old testament figures who reminded God of what they believed was their inability to carry out his requests. Moses was not a good public speaker. Gideon was the least of his family, and that clan was the smallest of them all. Esther had neither the privilege nor the authority of approaching the king uninvited. It seems that the natural response of humankind to the calling of God is to cite all of the reasons why we simply are not able to do the work He has for us to do. This is not necessarily untrue, as relying on our own abilities will get us nowhere in the kingdom of God. But what we must remember is that God himself provides the abilities we need to walk out our calling.
Today’s passage brings us to the words of Jesus Christ to his disciples when asked whether He would be re-establishing God’s kingdom soon. His response is a curious one. He answered the literal question being asked, but He also answered the motivation behind the question. Yes, his disciples were asking him when his kingdom would be re-established. But the reason they were asking this was because of what it meant for them if the kingdom were to be delayed. It would mean living in the manner Jesus taught us to live while remaining in this fallen world. It would mean carrying on his work as He did, which is beyond the ability of humankind. Jesus knew that their question was not so much about time as it was about ability. Regarding time, He simply shot them down and told them that it was not for them to know. Regarding ability, He reassured them that the Holy Spirit would make them able to accomplish the works ordained for them.
I am sure that it is not uncommon for God’s Church to hunger for the second coming of our Savior simply because of the difficulty of living in this fallen world. The increase of violence and hatred that we experience daily can be almost intolerable. As our hearts break over the destruction around us, we may cry out to God that we do not know how we can take another day. But we must remember the truth that Jesus tells us here. His Holy Spirit will enable us to do that which He calls us to do. I cannot fulfill his will, but his Spirit within me can. Where I am inadequate, God is more than sufficient. If He has called me to do a certain work it is only because He is able to provide what I need to complete it. Father, help us focus not on our inability but on your infinite ability, and give us the confidence that You will carry out every plan You have ordained for us.