By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you… Genesis 8:13-17
Noah and family had been on a cramped, damp, and no doubt, smell-filled ark for a year. He removed the roof of the ark and peering over the edge of the boat he sees dry ground! “Hallelujah! It’s time to get off of this boat and put our sandals on that dry turf,” he must have thought or even exclaimed along with his family members. But the time was yet to be for the departure from their lifeboat. How frustrating!
A careful reading of the text shows that Noah saw the dry ground on the first day of the first month, but it was not until the 27th day of the second month that God instructed them to disembark. 57 more days of waiting and watching–looking over the deck railing to see dry ground as far as they could see–waiting upon God for His release from their delivery ship. I wonder what went through Noah’s mind as he waited for God’s time to exit the ark?
Leaders are doers. We are all about getting things done-and getting them done NOW. We often can have difficulty when God says to wait. Wait for what? It’s dry ground out there! Let’s get on with this! If not careful, we can miss a great opportunity to stop, reflect, and wait for the voice of God to speak. We can miss God’s perfect timing.
Time is easily spent, never to be recovered. Time is easily wasted, never to be redeemed. Time is always in short supply for leaders! “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven,” the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us. “Yeah, right! He didn’t have my schedule,” we think. We leaders are often like the proverbial dog straining at the end of God’s leash, wanting to get on with the job at hand, looking ahead to our new challenges. Somehow I don’t see Noah anxiously marching up and down the deck of his ark, sighing deeply at his seeming lack of forward movement.
We are all busy people, especially leaders. But busyness is not our enemy. Busyness is a morally neutral state. Being busy is not good, or bad, or purple. It just means that we have a lot to accomplish each and every day. In fact, if you don’t want a busy life, don’t lead! But our busy lives can become a snare for us. We can allow our full days to lull us into complacency with those things that are incredibly important, but do not have demanding deadlines.
How many Kingdom leaders are coasting upon past bible studies, memory verses, or messages preached long ago because they have let their busy lives crowd out personal time with God? How many families are neglected because we are unwilling to say ‘no’ to enticing invitations? God continues to speak, but our iPod volume drowns out His still, small voice. We don’t recognize the voice of God because we don’t stop long enough to listen.
Elijah, a leader extraordinaire, learned to pay attention to God’s voice, The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper …” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
As Kingdom leaders we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry (not busyness) from our lives in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and wait for Him to speak. He is not in the fierce wind, the great earthquake, or the raging fire (all of our pressing crises or demanding problems). He waits for us to stop, look, and listen. He then gently whispers into our heart His plans for us and our leadership, expecting us to take note and be quick to obey.
So is your leadership walk like one of Noah, patiently waiting for God’s timing to speak–waiting expectantly on Him to guide and direct your path? Or are you more like the dog straining at the end of the leash, pulling hard against a loving Master? May you turn down the volume of your hurried life to be able to hear His voice! And may you have a heart that is quick to obey!