Having grown up in a rural community, there was much folk wisdom to be had. Often it found itself in home-spun colloquies. “A stitch in time saves nine.” “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” While there were many others, the granddaddy of them all was, “wait broke the wagon.” It is a mash-up of two different expressions of weight. The point of course was then further expressed in more folk wisdom, “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
As rural folk, we had a very strong work ethic. We did our work before we played. Of course, having farm animals meant that the chores simply had to be done. We often did more than our day’s work because we didn’t know what tomorrow would bring. We didn’t wait, we did. Because, you know, “the early bird gets the worm.”
So what do we make of Paul’s instructions to the folks in Thessaloniki? Life is tough and uncertain. There is social pressure and even ostracism. When is Jesus going to return? It is supposed to be immanent, yet, hasn’t happened. What’s up?
Paul gives advice to his congregation that flies in the face of what I was taught as a youth. Wait. Hang loose. Be faithful. Pay attention to the now, rather than looking to the future. Oh, and wait. God is good for God’s promises. There will be a resurrection, of both the living and the dead. The old will pass away and the new will come.
But, it will be in God’s time. We’ll talk about the “wait” from I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Sunday.
See you Sunday,
PS—the Chiefs have a bye, so I expect to see you all….