What Are You Waiting For?

Last summer we looked at the first twelve chapters of the book of Acts on Sunday mornings. If you are not in our auditorium class on Wednesday evenings, you might not realize that we have been gradually working our way through the rest of the book. Last Wednesday we studied the first of Paul’s five defenses.
In Acts 22, Paul tells the story of what happened to him on the road to Damascus 13 chapters earlier. He tells how he saw a bright light and was blinded. He recalls hearing the voice of Jesus. He shares about meeting Ananias and receiving his sight. In verse 16, he explains what Ananias says needed to happen next: “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” I like the way the NIV words the question asked by Ananias: “What are you waiting for?”
For many people who stand on the verge of following Jesus, they need an Ananias to ask that question. For many more of us who have already taken that step and are living that new life, we need an Ananias to ask that question of us. In our Christian stories, the step of conversion is supposed to be the first step, not the last one. It is only the beginning of our new life, and like Paul, we need to tell the story.
I shared a statistic Wednesday night that probably came as a surprise to many people. In his book, The Unchurched Next Door, Thom Rainer writes that 8 out of 10 unchurched people in their survey would attend a church service if invited. The same survey found that only 2 out of 10 Christians invite someone to a church service each year. That’s right, only 2 out of 10 people are doing something that has the potential for an 80% success rate. I wonder how many would just be willing to what Paul did and share the story of how they came to follow Christ. As those stories connect with people, they can learn more about the story of Jesus.
Whether it’s in regard to telling the story, inviting someone to a church service or even just living out the example of Christ, the question of Ananias should be a reminder to us today. What are you waiting for?
You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8b)

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