Monthly Archives: March 2012

When There’s Nothing Happening

The life of a sacred agent isn’t like the movies. It’s a lot slower. (And more expensive.) Great Christians and great churches take a lot more time to form than it takes to read the books written about them. Our biblical heroes too, lived many a quiet, unrecorded, year.

So this one’s for all the sacred agents out there who are frustrated that nothing seems to be happening. You’re not seeing results. Your church doesn’t seem to be growing, and your unbelieving friends seem no closer to faith.

Now it’s possible that this is because you’re lazy, disobedient, low on faith and untalented. But it’s also quite possible that it’s not. What are we to make of the times when nothing’s happening?

Our theology reminds us that nothing happening is an illusion. God is always at work, though we might not see it. A farmer sows seed and it looks like she is litterally throwing away her wealth. In the dirt. There’s nothing to show for it – yet. Under the ground, out of sight, much is happening.

That’s all well and good, but what are we to do when nothing’s happening? Here are some suggestions:

(1)  Rest. As in farming, the harvest season is very busy and there are other seasons where it’s wise to go at less than 110%, so as to be well refreshed for when the rush comes.

(2)  Prepare. Those who are wise know that “it doesn’t rain, it pours.” It can all happen at once. The worst time for flood management is during a flood. Arks are best built before them.

(3)  Pray. Not just for “things to happen” but for your own preparation for “things”. You might not be seeing fruit because you’re not mature enough yet to bear much. People think that crises form character, but it’s more true to say that crises reveal character – the character that is formed in the quiet, unspectacular, everyday grind.

(4)  Think. Your mission may be barely developing, but it could be on an exponential growth curve. Just the flat, early bit. But that’s where the curve is formed, by wise decisions at the beginning. Twitter recently reported that it processes 1 billion tweets every week. But the first billion tweets took 3 years, 2 months and 1 day. And yet they were the crucial years when the platform was developed.

What’s worse that being a fired-up sacred agent when nothing’s happening? The realisation, when it all suddenly happens, that you were completely unprepared.

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