Series: Grounded in Love
Message: Our Church
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jenniffer Ogden
Live Beyond: Andrew Jones
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Ephesians 3:1-21 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Ephesians 3:9 says, “and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”
Timing is important. If you leave a dish cooking in your oven for too long, or take it out too soon, it ruins the dish. In baseball, when a pitcher throws a change-up, he deceives the batter into swinging at an 80-mph pitch thinking that it is a 94-mph pitch. The timing is so off that the batter comes off looking like a fool. In your car’s engine, its valves must open and close in relation to the ignition spark in relation to the movement of the piston in your cylinders exactly in time. If not, you are stuck on the side of the road calling AAA. In music, if you have some instruments playing 3:4 and others in 2:4 time, you will have a cacophony of noisy pablum. (Some would refer to that as freestyle jazz.)
How many times have you showed up “just in time?” Or a check came in the mail “just in time?” How many times have you experienced something in life in which the timing was just off?
Timing is important.
Jesus knew that timing is important. How many times did He tell His followers that He couldn’t do this or that because “my time has not yet come?” He knew that God’s timing for the mystery to be revealed (Christ’s kingdom/church being unveiled/unleashed on earth) was critical. It’s quite interesting how it all worked out. Jesus’s ministry and death are timed to a T with the messianic prophecies of Daniel 9. In the book of John (only this of the four gospels) Jesus’s death coincides with the slaughtering of the Passover Lamb in Jerusalem. Timing is everything.
It’s interesting that Jesus’s appearance happens when Rome, an empire predicted in Daniel and allowed to become what it became by God’s providence, prepared a way through its global presence for the Gospel to spread throughout the world. Anytime before this, the Gospel would have run into many obstacles, too many for it to survive and thrive like it has through the centuries, all because of God’s timing.
Paul suggests that God’s timing necessitated the veiling of His glory in times past, until Jesus came (at the perfect time) to reveal the Father and His good character. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared, just at the right time, that we really understood the Father. It wasn’t until Jesus came that all humanity was invited to the Great Banquet Table. Jew, Gentile, man, woman, slave, free, rich, poor, gay, straight, black, brown, white, Adventist, Muslim, Baptist, Hindu, dog lover, and cat lover all benefit from God’s perfect timing, the revealing of the Christ. The shroud of mystery was torn from top to bottom and now all have invitation and access to the Father. God’s perfect timing made all this possible.
Oh, and God’s timing is perfect in your life too. When we give Him the reigns, He will, in His perfect timing, move on our behalf. His perfect timing will satisfy us like we could never satisfy ourselves.
Recalibrate: How much of your life is random and how much of it is providence? Do you think God’s timing has played an important role in where you find yourself right now?
Respond: Meditate on God’s perfect timing and His perfect will. Thank Him for knowing when to act and when to be silent.
Research: Here’s a cool article on the importance of good timing.
Remember: “The heavenly world will know God’s wisdom” (Ephesians 3:10, ICB).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor for the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Walk.
Make something to eat with your little one. It could be toast or cookies in the oven, or mac and cheese in the microwave. Talk about how when the time is up, the food is cooked, and then we can eat. Enjoy eating with your child. Everything takes time. Know that God created, manages, and delivers perfect timing. We may not think it’s perfect sometimes but hey, we are not perfect—He is.
The story of Abram reminds us that God has made a home for us. We all, in fact, share a home. This planet is a wonderful space to share with others. But we don’t always seem to get along very well. Think about a time you got into an argument with someone. What happened? How did you feel? How did they feel? Are you still friends? Sometimes when we get into a disagreement, we need to do all we can to make it better. Is there something today that you can do at home to help make a friendship better? Perhaps you have to apologize for some mean words, or clean up a mess you made, or fix something you broke. Take time in your own family today to make a friendship better.
When I was in high school, I loved to play sports. My favorites were soccer, basketball, and baseball. Just because I loved to play, doesn’t always mean I was good at them. I remember the first time we were playing soccer and I got picked last. Last! My feelings were hurt so badly that I almost didn’t want to play anymore. The other kids saw that I was feeling down and helped me feel better by passing me the ball and encouraging me. Sometimes we need to remember that things aren’t always going to go our way but the attitude we take and the people around us can make us feel better. Try to be someone with a good attitude today!
It was the first day of staff training week at Sunset Lake Camp and we had a boys counselor quit. I was the girls director at the time and so the boys director and I immediately went to work calling every eligible young man asking them to come out and counsel for the summer. I went to the only spot on camp that had cell service, sat down on a rock, and began scrolling through my contacts. Finally my eyes landed on a friend’s name and so I gave him a call. “Hello! What are you up to this summer?” I asked. “Looking for a job,” was his reply. Immediately I knew that he was the one. “How would you like to work at Sunset Lake Camp?” He said he would “pray about it” (which is what we all say when we know the answer will be no), and then I said we would like to have an answer by 12:00 p.m. the next day. The next day I got an email saying, “I’m in,” and we bought him a plane ticket. When I picked him up at Sea-Tac airport I asked him his story of how he came to camp. He told me that every job he applied for fell through and ten minutes before I called him he had just got turned down at another job. This job as boys counselor came at just the right time and God worked in his life in incredible ways that summer. God’s timing is perfect. He knows the beginning to the end and he knows what is best for us. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like God is working and there are moments of utter silence. But know that He is. Know that in the silence and in moments where God seems to be withholding things from us that He is still in control.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jenniffer Ogden serves as the children and family pastor at the Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington.
Andrew Jones teaches grades seven and eight at Vista Ridge Academy in Erie, Colorado. He is originally from Oregon and attends Boulder Church.
Emily Ellis is a junior studying theology at Walla Walla University and interning at the Eastgate Seventh-day Adventist Church.