By Eugene Crawley
In Acts chapter 1, where we read of the ascension of Jesus, a number of things are quite interesting and of importance. While the apostles were standing listening to Jesus, unexpectedly to them, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. As they continued to look steadfastly toward heaven, two men in white apparel stood by them, and said to them, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
We are assured, not only in this statement, but in others as well, that Jesus will return. The point I would like for us to notice here is this, “Why stand ye gazing?” It is not difficult to understand that they were surprised, perhaps shocked, by this event, that they felt their loss and were amazed. Likely we would have reacted in the same fashion. Yet, it was not for their good, nor was it God’s will, that they continue gazing. Not many days before this Jesus had given them the Great Commission in which He commanded them to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15, 16; Luke 24:46-47). This they could not do as long as they stood gazing up into heaven. Jesus intended that they be active, that they work, that they do what He had commanded them.
From this, we should be able to learn a few lessons. Along with being assured of Jesus’ second coming, we should be as impressed with the importance placed upon faithfulness by this very question. Too many are satisfied and seemingly content to stand, or sit, idly by and be unconcerned about the importance of working in the Master’s kingdom. Jesus had both taught them to work and had set an example of such for them. Remember when He said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4)? These are “gazing,” as it were, and are failing to work the works commanded by the Lord. If this is true with any, he needs to realize the need for active service. He needs to be impressed with such passages as Romans 13:11, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” This should teach us, among other things, that we should stop “gazing.”
Those who “gaze” are simply “spectators,” and there is no place for such in the kingdom of God. Each must be a participant, in work and worship which the Lord has commanded. If more would realize this, there would be more working, and less need to keep reminding and admonishing some to continue steadfastly in service to God; they would be helping do so.
Why do some “gaze” and remain inactive in t1p work of the Lord? Is it because they are afraid they will make a mistake? Maybe so, but who has not who has made any attempts at service? Is it because they are lazy? Perhaps so! Or, maybe it is because they think there is nothing for them to do; that others are doing everything. Hardly so, because there is work for us all to do. It may not be of such nature as will be noticed and applauded by men, but what of that? Are we not to work when our work is un-noticed and unpraised? Certainly so, so let us all resolve to do more! If we will, souls will be saved, the Lord’s work will prosper, God will be glorified, and the world will be a better place in which to live. And who would not want that?
Truth Magazine XXIV: 18, p. 296
May 1, 1980