It is uncomfortable getting stuck "in-between normals." The inability to see the future feels like a lingering low-grade fever that never goes away, reminding us of our predicament and needs. This often drives us to look inward. The only thing we can think of is "me."
But it doesn't need to be this way. Acts chapter 2 opens our eyes to a higher reality.
1. Look Upward and be Grateful.
Today, we read about Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Shavuot. It's a celebration of the “first fruit” of the harvest.
After months of labour, farmers are ready to reap their harvest. It’s their reward. However, Shavuot reminds them of a higher reality - the gracious God and His providence.
While farmers could plough the fields and sow the seeds, it's God who sends them rain and causes the grains to grow. In a very real sense, the farmers are living by faith!
But focusing on their inability to control the rain is not a good strategy. Working faithfully plus trusting God is.
So, instead of heaping all the harvests into their barns, they offer the “first fruit” as an act of worship! They acknowledge that God is the true source of hope.
Don't you think that we should also do the same?
2. Look Outward and be Gracious.
Now, Pentecost is often associated with the mysterious “tongue.” Many wonder what the “tongues of fire” is and what “speaking in tongues” (2:3-4) means. These are important questions, but not as important as what are they here “for”?
Why did God enable the disciples to speak in other people's native languages?
Here is an obvious answer. The climax of Acts 2 is not the tongue, but the section after it. The gift is given not for the disciples to look good, but to enable other people to hear the gospel. True love points outward.
Paradoxically, joy and meaning come not so much from looking inward, but by looking upward and outward.
So, my friend, what would your "first fruit" worship to God look like? What can you do to express my gratitude to God?