2 More Ways the Christmas Story Teaches Us About God's Timing


Note: For part one of this article, click here.

Timing is one of the most important parts of leadership.

In fact, the difference between a great leader and a poor leader is not just knowing what to do but knowing when to do it. The timing is everything.

The difference between a speaker who holds your attention and one who doesn't is all in the timing.

If you don't learn timing, you'll struggle with leadership.

The Bible isn't silent on the topic. In fact, timing is critical to the Christmas story. Last week, I shared with you three lessons about God's timing we can learn from the Christmas story and apply to our ministries.

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—God has a timetable for everything that happens.

—God does not tell us the details in advance.

—God is never in a hurry, and He's never late.

This week, I have two more lessons about timing we can learn from the Christmas story.

1. God's timing is not always convenient. God's plan for your life and his timing is good. It's for your benefit, but it's not painless. It won't always be easy.

Think about Mary and Joseph. Mary was a pregnant virgin. Imagine her conversation with her mom: "Hi, Mom, I'm pregnant. I'm still a virgin, and the baby is God." I'm sure that wasn't an easy conversation.

Then Caesar Augustus decides to call a census and tells everyone to return to the town where they were born. Imagine if the government asked us to do this today. It would be chaos. Every plane, train and automobile would be booked. Every highway would be full.

But back then, this meant Mary had to get on a donkey and take a long trip to Bethlehem the day before she delivered her baby. Then she had to deliver her first child in a barn without any family but Joseph—along with a bunch of animals.

This wasn't Mary's plan. Her timing would have been much different. But the Bible said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, so that's what God orchestrated.

The Christmas story wasn't Mary and Joseph's idea of how they wanted to welcome their first child into the world. But it was part of a much bigger plan.

2020 wasn't convenient for many of us. A year ago, no one would have dreamed that a global pandemic would have killed hundreds of thousands of people. We couldn't have imagined needing to close our churches for months at a time.

2021 will have its share of inconveniences, too. Your leadership will be challenged by them. You can either throw in the towel, or you can lean on God and his plan for your ministry.

2. At the right time, God can do anything instantly. God can do more in one millisecond than you can do in your entire life. At the right time, God can do his will instantly. The Bible says, "At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen" (Isa. 60:22b, NLT).

God doesn't worry about time because He doesn't need time to accomplish what He wants to do.

Pastor, this is tough for us to accept. The most difficult place for us to be is in God's waiting room. Many of you find yourself there right now. You're waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to subside. You're waiting for your congregation to return to church. You're waiting for a vaccine. Maybe you're waiting on something in your personal life—children to be born or possibly an upcoming marriage.

When you're in a hurry for something to happen and God isn't, that's God's waiting room. When you're in God's waiting room, you tend to wonder if what you're waiting on will even happen at all.

But God doesn't need a lot of time to do what he wants to do in your life and in your church.

Israel waited for hundreds of years for the Messiah to come. But the Bible says, "When the right time came, God sent his Son" (Gal. 4:4a, NCV).

When the time is right, he'll answer your prayers as well. Even 2020 can't get in the way of God's perfect plan for your life and your ministry.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times' bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Pastor Rick started The PEACE Plan to show the local church how God works through ordinary people to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. You can listen to Daily Hope, Pastor Rick's daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global online community created to encourage pastors.

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