Image from agnusday.org
So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. (Acts 1:6-14)
My first two years of college I worked in the school's cafeteria. It was a fun job and it paid the bills for my being there. The downside was working breakfast; getting up ridiculously early, eating fast, then washing dishes. I had a first period English class immediately after and I smelled like egg for that class. I would endure class, or maybe they endured me, rush back to the dorm, shower again and I was again ready for the day. My first boss was a European man with a heavy accent, who expected hard work from us all. More than once we heard him tell a guilty worker, "What are you going to do, stand around all day with your hands in your pocket? Get your hands outta yer pockets!" Somehow, I think of that loud statement every time I read this passage. The disciples were still a bit confused with Jesus and He risen and among them, but they kept wondering and asking, "What's next?" In this passage they wondered if now was the time that He would restore Israel back to greatness. Jesus calmly explains that what was next was the coming of the Holy Spirit's power upon them to be His witnesses. And not just where they were, but in the entire city, the region, and neighboring regions all the way to the ends of the earth. Jesus then ascended into heaven, and the disciples saw then another unexplainable thing done by our Lord. Almost immediately, two angels ask the question asked in the cafeteria: "What are you going to do, stand around all day with your hands in your pockets, looking up?" (Okay, I added that last part). "You have work to do!"
Indeed, we still do. Our Sunday school classes, if they still exist, have dwindled down to nothing. The question we should be asking is, Who is teaching our children about God and God's love through Jesus? Another close question, What are our children learning these days if not about God? And as our churches also dwindle in size, we should ask why, and what can I do about it? This is the work, dear friends, and we have much to do. What we do learn from this powerful passage is that Jesus equips us for the work with His Holy Spirit, and He leads, guides, and blesses us not only with opportunities, but with the words we need to use. You may have felt God tugging at your heart to be a Sunday school teacher; volunteer! God will give you words! You may have felt a call into ministry, go and talk to your pastor! You may have felt you were letting your spouse or family down; change and be the person you know God intended you to be. This is the work, dear friends, and we have much to do.
PRAYER: Loving God, use me. I want to work for You. Show me what I should do. Grant me the power to be and do what You expect of me. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord! Get your hands outta your pockets!