Building God’s Kingdom And The Power of Strategic Waiting
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
There are a number of places in the Bible that talk about the value of patience and waiting. In this article I want to talk about what it means to wait as we work on building the kingdom of God on earth.
Recently I wrote an article on some of the wisdom shared by Charlie Munger over the years. If you’re not aware of who Munger is, he’s the sidekick of Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame; he’s considered by many to be one of the best investors in the stock market of all time.
For our purposes, I want to look at one part of the article because it has so much value in the work of Christians in this age. While it talks about how to be patient while waiting for the right opportunities to arise concerning investing, be sure to no limit it to investing or money on its own; these are principles that can and should be used in all of life, and are reinforced and confirmed by the Holy Scriptures.
Munger said this:
“You have to be very patient, you have to wait until something comes along, which, at the price you’re paying, is easy. That’s contrary to human nature, just to sit there all day long doing nothing, waiting. It’s easy for us, we have a lot of other things to do. But for an ordinary person, can you imagine just sitting for five years doing nothing? You don’t feel active, you don’t feel useful, so you do something stupid.”
The biggest thing to take away from this is that Munger’s not just talking about sitting around and doing nothing. I think of it in terms of strategic waiting, or continuing to learn, watch and actively wait for the important moment or event to come that best leverages what you’re trying to accomplish or achieve. That’s why I started off the article with Isaiah 40:31.
In Isaiah 40:31, the word for ‘wait’ in the first part of the verse includes the idea of looking with anticipation or hope concerning that which you’re waiting for. This is why people that learn how to wait this way can “mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Hope and anticipating keep you in a state or frame of mind of being ready when the right time unfolds. Someone that has become lethargic or lazy in their thoughts or actions, can easily miss these important opportunities because they in effect, have quit looking for them.
Laboring to Rest
On the topic or strategic waiting there is one verse that lays it out clearly for us.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
I have always found this interesting. While the end goal is rest, the means of achieving it is to labor. Most of us, if we think of our lives, will find that one of the more difficult things to do is enter into a place of rest and peace while waiting for that which we have an intellectual and emotional attachment to.
How do we identify if we’ve entered into a rest Jesus spoke of as coming after? It’s when we cease from our own labors, “as God did from his.” What keeps us from entering into rest is unbelief.
When entering into a state of rest, what happens is we remain active, but stop working for no other purpose than to be busy. This is one of the reasons rest produces renewed strength and lack of weariness and being subject to being weak and feint.
As I mentioned in the article linked to above, active rest is similar to “a tiger hiding low in the grass waiting for its prey to get to the spot where it has the best chance to quickly take it down.” We wait for it to come to us, not go chasing after it in order to force it to happen.
Not only does that usually result in failure to meet our goals, but it generates a hefty case of burn out which takes us time to recover from. As Christians, we aren’t called to stress out in that way.
This is why we’re admonished to “be anxious for nothing.” Instead, we are to pray and let God know what we want or need. Afterwards, we are to, in faith, patiently wait for His response.
The Positive Effect of Strategic Waiting
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
The reason why the end of a thing is better than the beginning is because of the willingness of a person to wait on God to give increase. It’s one thing to plant and water, it’s another thing for God to give increase. Our challenge is to give God time to give increase, rather than interfering and interjecting if we don’t think things are moving at the pace we thing they should.
As for the patient in spirit being better than the proud in spirit, the reason is because the patient in spirit inwardly acknowledges that only God can bring things to fruition in the way He wants. The proud in spirit believes he can do it just as good or better, thus refusing to wait in anticipation to how God works it out, choosing rather to strain and stress to each the desire results.
What Do We Do While Waiting?
The obvious question for most is this: what do we do while waiting? What if things do take a number of years to come into being?
According to Munger, the key is to keep reading and studying, and I would add praying and preparing. The more we pray, read and remain in a state of preparedness, the readier we’ll be when the time comes to do our part in the process.
Munger says this is what to do at that time:
“Quickly eliminate the big universe of what not to do, followup with a fluent, multidisciplinary attack on what remains, then act decisively when, and only when, the right circumstances appear.”
There’s a time for every purpose under heaven. Our job is to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to learn the discipline of waiting and working to enter into rest, so we cease from our own labors and only take action at the most opportune time.
Being in a constant place of preparedness provides us with the best opportunity of identifying the right timing and entry point for whatever we’re trying to do, or for leveraging that which we’re already doing for the best effect and outcomes.
Learning to wait allows us to this without destroying ourselves or our friends or families. We learn to do it seamlessly and effortlessly, while performing the work we’re required to do by God.
The Scriptures teach us Hebrews 11: 10 Abraham looked for a “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” That is the kingdom of God on earth. That is New Jerusalem that is already coming down out of heaven.
If you doubt New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven, look at Hebrews 12:22-23. Almost 2,000 years ago the writer to the Hebrews said this:
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
New Jerusalem already touched down on planet earth. It is still being built to fulness and completion, but it’s already here!
Our job is to cooperate with God in building the city of God on the earth, being sure to continue in a state of preparedness by praying for the kingdom of God and will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are to wait and work in faith and anticipation for the kingdom of God to expand on earth, always ready to do our part in season and out of season.
On the practical level, we need to know the gift or job God has given us to do while living in this world, and work on developing our knowledge and skill concerning that area to the best of our ability. That’s primarily what we do while waiting on the Lord to expand His kingdom in this world, being ready to move when the opportunity arises.