The Importance of Action without Delay

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Some of you might know that my first University degree, and we’re going back quite some time here, was in engineering, and more specifically Geological Engineering.

At that point of my life I was still living at home with my parents and I needed to travel from where they lived in a very much outer suburb of Melbourne into the city every day to get to my uni lectures.

Now the way this particular course was structured – there was a lot of contact time and that meant that I had classes to attend for most of the day, every weekday.

A few years ago when I went back to study and got my masters degree, which was in theological studies, I had a full time load but there were online subjects too and I only ended up onsite for a few lots of a few hours each week.

But for my bachelors degree there was a LOT of contact time and that was in the city. So, to get there from my parents house, I had to catch the train and my parents lived a 15 minute drive beyond the end of the train line.

So I had to drive for 15 minutes to get to the station, and then had to get the train – and the train ride took somewhere in the vicinity of an hour and 10 minutes if everything went as scheduled.

Whenever I could, I would try and catch express trains which would miss some of the inner-suburb stations and by not stopping as much the trip would be faster.

Anyway, one of the worst things that can happen when you’re either on your way into a lecture or even at the end of the day when you’re on your way back home after a long day of lectures is for there to be a delay.

Everyone hates them, and for me, there was another complication in that only every second or third service would go right to the end of the line – which was roughly once every 40 minutes.

So the trains in between wouldn’t go as far and they’d stop at a station somewhere in the middle of the line and change directions to head back into the city, so you’d have to get off that train and wait for the next one heading in the right direction.

And if the train was too delayed, they’d cancel it altogether – which meant that you’d be waiting at least 40 minutes extra.

And that was assuming there wasn’t something physical, like a tree over the train tracks, that needed to be moved.

And there were no buses or anything for that end bit, so you really were stuck waiting for the next train, whenever it showed up.

Anyway, a delay is definitely not what you want.

Because with a 40 minute delay plus, and more than an hour of ride still to go it felt like it took FOR EVER to get to the end of the train line, and I still had a 15 minute drive to get home after that.

A small delay in the city could make a difference of hours.

So delays on public transport are horrendous and pretty much no-one likes them.

I’m sure my kids are fitted with a built-in delay feature too – I can’t think of how many times I ask them to do something, like pick up their things that they’ve left abandoned on the couch, or the floor, or the table.

Now in my head, I’m sure I’m asking them to put their things away now, or soon – like in the next few minutes.

I’d even be happy if it happened the next time they walked past the offending object – which in a house the size of ours is bound to happen within the next half hour or so.

But I’m sure, if they even recognize hearing my request, they think – oh yeah, I might get around to that later, before promptly forgetting that I’ve even said something.

Then when I remind them hours (or in some cases days) later – they’re like – yeah, I was going to do that, stop hassling me about it… and even THAT isn’t a guarantee that it’ll actually happen.

I usually have to suggest that anything that hasn’t been put away is going to the bin if it hasn’t been put away by the next time I walk past it before things get actioned in a timely manner!

If you’re a parent, when you want something done, and particularly when you’ve asked for something to be done, it can be super-frustrating when the person you’ve asked takes their time about doing it.

I’m lucky enough to be able to walk my youngest daughter to school every morning, and part of our journey involves crossing a reasonably busy road at a school crossing.

One morning last week, as we turned the corner and approached the crossing, we could see a huge dust cloud coming out of a nearby worksite.

It wasn’t ordinary dust either, it was that superfine concrete dust that you get when you grind down concrete floors before polishing them – so very much not great to be breathing in.

So we could see this huge cloud of dust – this thing was covering more than half of the crossing itself, as well as probably 15 meters on either side of it, and we could see that the crossing guard was standing in a really thick part of the dust cloud.

So as my daughter and I walked across the crossing, I said to the crossing guard – and I think my exact words were ‘you need to move to the other side of the road, that’s concrete dust and you don’t want to breathe that stuff in’.

The words were barely out of my mouth when the crossing guard said ‘yep’ and started quickly crossing to the other side of the road. Hannah and I finished crossing and once we were a bit further down the street my daughter said ‘well that was weird’.

And I’m like ‘what?’ – and my daughter said ‘she didn’t even think about what you said, she just went straight away and she almost ran across to the other side – that was really really weird how fast she moved’.

So I finished the drop off, and by the time I walked back to the crossing they’d finished the job at the worksite and the dust had dissipated completely.

The first thing the crossing guard said to me as I approached was ‘that was amazing’ and I was like ‘what was? the dust?’ and she said “no – I’d just finished asking the Holy Spirit whether or not I should move and then you showed up like 20 seconds later and told me to move – but not just that – the voice you used – it wasn’t your normal voice. It had an authority like it was God speaking and I recognized that voice so I got moving straight away.”

Now after school I asked my daughter whether when I spoke to the crossing guard I sounded any different to normal and her response was ‘well you were a bit bossy, you didn’t even say please and you told her she should move’ but when I asked again to clarify if my voice sounded any different to normal – she said there wasn’t anything different about it.

So the crossing guard heard me speak and there was something about my voice that made her take action straight away.

Unlike my own children at home, when they hear me ask them to pick their stuff up, there was no delay in her following through. We often think, when God asks us to do something, that it’s OK to take our time doing it, or to put it off until later.

But what God is after, just like a parent who asks their children to do something, is for us to not only take action – but to take action straight away.

It’s not just action that he’s after – but action without delay. In Psalm 119 verse 16 the Psalmist promises ‘I will hasten, without delay, to obey your commands’ and Ecclesiastes chapter 5 verse 4 says ‘when you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.’

This just reinforces how important it is – not just that we DO take action, but also that we take action WITHOUT DELAY – just like the crossing guard did.

So when you finish watching this video, take a few minutes to reflect on some of the things God has been prompting you to do lately.

Have you been stalling, delaying, or taking more time than you really need to get them done?

Have you been leaving them until later, until you get your other stuff done first?

Or perhaps – are you not really sure what it is that God has been prompting you to do?

Until next time, blue skies!

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