Christ is risen!
Timing is everything! I took a stand up comedian class once in trying to develop my public speaking skills, and this point was driven home over and over again. Timing is everything.
What’s true in comedy is also true in life. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to “force” something to happen before it was the right time and how many times that very forcing ruined the whole thing! The timing wasn’t right. But I had not yet developed the discernment in my own heart to see that clearly. It takes time and experience to get the timing right!
Discernment is a virtue that becomes absolutely necessary for a mature Christian life. “An old man was asked, ‘How can I find God?’ He said, ‘In fasting, in watching, in labors, in devotion, and, above all, in discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing. Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that which God seeks: charity and humility.” (from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers) Discernment sets me free to live life at the proper pace. Discernment sets me free to be patient with others, know they too are fighting a hard battle. And the wisdom of discernment calls me to a self knowing that allows me an honest assessment of my own heart before I judge another!
Look at our Gospel Lesson today in John 7:1-13:
At that time, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his brothers did not believe in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. Go to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” So saying, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.
Jesus has already created such waves with His ministry that certain leaders of His people are already trying to kill Him! And it isn’t His time to die yet! Even His kinsmen, His “brothers,” didn’t believe in Him and tried to manipulate Him in doing ministry at a time that was all wrong! The Lord confronts His family with some straightforward words about timing and even hatred.
Jesus is hated because of His message, but the world didn’t hate His kinsmen because they weren’t saying and doing the things He was saying and doing. There is going to be a time for this focused confrontation with the darkness of the world, but not now. There was going to be a time to die, but not today. There will be a time for very public ministry, but it isn’t at this time. The Lord’s discernment meant He knew exactly when was the most opportune time to act and speak and when not to. This freedom allowed Him to do His eternal work of love and salvation in the most effective manner!
Today, are you able to know when’s the right time to speak and act? Are you asking God for a spirit of discernment so the wisdom of timing will be your friend, rather than a burden you bear? Perhaps it’s time to seek the wisdom of discernment that flows from both humility and patience; from deep honesty and love. Perhaps it’s time to be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. This Sunday we have an all new Faith Encouraged LIVE program on God’s grace and “outsiders.” What does the Church say about God’s grace and those outside the visible boundaries of the Orthodox Church? Listen this Sunday at 8 PM Eastern on Ancient Faith Radio.