“Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
The angels ask the apostles a seemingly straightforward question. Yet the apostles have no valid response. “We’re waiting for Jesus,” they could say. “We’re waiting for him to come back.” But the angels would simply respond, “Did he ask you to wait?” No. He did not. “Did he give you some instruction?” Maybe there was something about going to make disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Oh yeah… that.
So why do we stand here, looking into the sky? Or worse, doing other things? If eagerly awaiting Christ’s return (inactively) is not a good use of time, then how much worse is everything else we waste time doing?
I recently came to realize that, although our time on this earth is temporary, the impacts and ramifications of our time here are eternally significant. If I waste my own time, it’s no big deal because I’m just a sinful man anyway. But is it really my time I’m wasting? The answer is no.
God gave me this life, and it’s his to do with as he pleases. The time I’ve been given is also his. And although my earthly body is only a temporary shell, God has the ability to do eternal work through me, if I let him.
But when I waste what I think of as my time, I’m really wasting his. If I weren’t loafing around, squandering precious moments on insignificant and sometimes thoughtless things, he could be making a difference through me. He could speak into someone’s life that needs guidance. He could bring healing to someone that’s been subject to suffering for years. Or, he could save one person. And that one person could save numerous others. That’s countless souls that could have been saved if I wasn’t wasting time. His time.
It is true that the apostles were told not to leave Jerusalem until they received the gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit. But that’s not the point. They were sitting around, waiting for Jesus to bring prominence to the kingdom of Israel once again. They wanted and expected him to do the work. And there’s the fault. They were perfectly content to stand in one place, looking up at the sky with eyes open and mouth gaping. But that’s not what we’ve been called to do.
Without a doubt, we are called to eagerly await his return. But it’s an active form of waiting; one that involves doing. And God has chosen to use us as his instruments, his vessels, his ambassadors. So I have to stop myself sometimes and ask, “Why do I stand here looking into the sky?”