To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 4.
Ask a man to share this first-person account. Introduce the story by saying that you are speaking on behalf of Pastor Godwin in Tanzania:
s a district pastor, I learned about heaven’s understanding of time. The occasion: I was leading evangelistic meetings for three weeks in Tanzania.
Organizers chose the dry season for the meetings in Moshi, a city at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.
But heavy rains started to fall after the first week.
Worried that the rain would keep people at home, I suggested that we reschedule the meetings for later.
To my surprise, the chairman of the local evangelistic committee, a lay person, refused.
“No, pastor, we are not going to postpone,” he said. “We prayed about these meetings early enough, and our Lord heard our prayers and knew the rain would fall.”
“So, what shall we do?” I said. “You can see that it is raining heavily.”
A Little Faith
“We have to have a little faith to believe that our God can be sensitive about the time of the meetings,” he said.
“Let’s pray this way, “Our good Lord, You can allow the rains to fall as much as You wish, but let there be no rain from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.”
This way people would have 30 minutes to travel to the 4 p.m. meetings and 30 minutes to return home after the meetings ended at 6 p.m.
I wasn’t sure about such a request, but I joined in the prayer.
The next morning, the rain fell in torrents. The downpour continued into the afternoon. But exactly at 3:30 p.m., it stopped.
Our meeting started at 4 p.m., and I preached until 6 p.m. The rain started again at 6:30 p.m.
The weather followed this schedule for two weeks.
Rain poured down until 3:30 p.m., stopped, and then started again at 6:30 p.m.
One day, a visitor arrived at the meeting site at 3 p.m. to get a good seat.
He waited for some time and, seeing the heavy downpour, decided that the meeting would be canceled and left.
The next day he asked whether we had met.
“Of course,” I replied. “We didn’t ask God to stop the rain at 3 p.m. We asked for 3:30 p.m., so you should have been sensitive about that.”
“I’ll never make that mistake again,” the man said.
After that, he waited until 3:30 p.m. to make his way to the meetings, and he never got wet.
On Sabbath, we suddenly realized that we had forgotten to ask the Lord to stop the rain for the morning worship services. But God knew our weakness, and no rain fell from 9 a.m. until noon.
On the last Sabbath, I baptized 12 people in a river. As I brought the last person out of the water, the rain started to fall.
“You are so blessed,” I told him. “You are being baptized by the river water and by heavenly rain.”
The experience taught me that God is sensitive to time. While God may not face time constraints as we do, He does expect us to be sensitive to time, too, and to be good stewards of time. Paul tells us, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NKJV).
If I had gone overtime in those evangelistic meetings, people would have had to walk home in the rain. Some may have caught colds or simply not returned. Time management is important.
Let me invite you to join me in praying to the Lord to be sensitive to time: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12).
Thank you for your timely Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that will assist six mission projects across the East-Central Africa Division, including the construction of a much-needed multipurpose hall at the University of Arusha in Tanzania.