The Silent Years
“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God, was upon him” Luke 2:52.
At age 12, Jesus was already publicly announcing His position under the authority of God. ‘Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?’ Luke 2:49. Mary and Joseph didn’t quite understand what this statement meant but were relieved that they had found their young son. After being reunited, they returned to Nazareth and then the Bible is silent about the life of Jesus for the next 18 years. I can only imagine how God was preparing this young boy for a future ministry. Jesus accepted His destiny as Son of God at the temple as a young boy, but returned to the anonymous life of being the son of a carpenter. No doubt He was aware of a future ministry, but realized the importance of transforming into the person required to accomplish God’s will. ‘These years teach us the importance of preparation and training, the need for patience, and the value of common work. They warn against the temptation to jump from spiritual birth to public ministry’ Believer’s Bible Commentary, p. 1376.
The Bible gives example after example of God’s call being followed by a long time of preparation before the call is realized. David waited 20 years before he became king. Moses was in the desert for 40 years being prepared for his ministry. Noah was given the vision and spent somewhere between 50-70 years building the ark preparing for the flood. We have all been called by God for ministry but cannot rush its fulfillment. Just as Jesus had trained and prepared for what He would be called to endure, we also must be patient in our callings. We are instructed to sow seed wherever we are and to continue on in goodness and walking in ways that will please the Spirit. When we follow this pattern, we will live out the destined ministries for which God created us to fulfill. ‘A man reaps what he sows…the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ Galatians 6:7-9. We cannot know how Jesus sowed for those 18 years leading up to His public ministry. But we do know that His victory over the cross is still bringing in a harvest that is unparalleled. His proper time was the crucifixion and the harvest was salvation for all believers through His resurrection.
We must never underestimate the seasons in our lives that feel idle. God is preparing us for something great in His kingdom! And like Jesus, we as God’s children are ‘growing and becoming strong… being filled with wisdom… with the grace of God upon us.’
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