"And [Ananias] said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you [Paul] to know his desire, to see the Righteous one and to hear a voice from his mouth. For you will be a witness (μάρτυς) for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait (μέλλω, pres.)? Rise, be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'" - Acts 22:14-16
Paul is bound in chains in Jerusalem, and the military tribune has given him the opportunity to speak to the hostile crowd gathered there. He only has a short time to speak. He decides to tell the story of how he went from being a zealous law-follower to a believer in the crucified and risen Jesus. He recounts how Jesus appeared to him in a vision on the road to Damascus and how Jesus immediately called him to be a witness of his resurrection. Ananias, a disciple in Damascus, basically says to Paul, "Paul, Jesus has an important plan for your life. He has called you, specifically, for a special task, to be an appointed witness of him and his resurrection. Get started. There's no reason to wait. Experience his grace by calling on his name, and then get going!"
I believe many of us are hesitating. God has a plan for us to be his witnesses today, but the self-talk in our minds is causing us to delay and make excuses. We are slow to go on the journey God has called us to. We need encouragement to begin that first step. I wonder if Jesus is calling us to make a significant change in our life so that we can fill Jesus' appointed role, to be witnesses to everyone of what we have seen and heard. Let's not delay any longer. Let's get to it.
Father, why do we wait? There are many reasons: fear of failure, inertia, apathy, laziness. Meanwhile, the job of witnessing to our generation does not get done adequately. So Father, may we not wait any longer. Help us to arrange our lives and our schedules around your appointed calling in our lives. May we get with your programme. Help us to break out of the inertia and take simple steps of faith today, as true disciples and witnesses of Jesus. Our generation needs us to step up, so please help us by your Spirit to do that, following the example of Paul. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman