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Words: George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)
Music: George Frederick Root
Note: This simple hymn of invitation was written in 1878. Typical of the Victorian style, it is an appeal to men, likely with the assumption that women are included too. I suppose, if it were used with a group of women, “Why do you wait, dear sister” would work just as well.
Likely we’ve all heard them–often! Brash hucksters on television selling high-powered soap, or glue, or some little tool or appliance that will work wonders in the kitchen–you name it. And part of the pitch often is to hurry the customer to the phone.
“If you call now–within the next twenty minutes–we’ll give you two for the price of one.” No time to think about it. No time to investigate. Don’t bother to consider whether you can afford it, or even need it. Quick! Hurry! Surely you don’t want to miss this bargain? I’ve often wondered: If they’re selling two for the price of one, would they sell me one at half that price? (No, not likely.)
There’s a song, released by country music band Rascal Flats five years ago, about a fellow trying to talk his girl into eloping. It represents the same kind of high pressure selling, that lacks any evidence of patience or wisdom. “Let’s do it now, and think about it later,” he says. “Love don’t need a reason.” And, “What’aya say, girl, we do something crazy?…‘cause crazy’s what you make me.” A moment’s thought will show there’s more lust than love at the root of that, more selfishness than solicitude, more hormones than homage.
The devil is a master at the hurry-up technique. I know; he’s used it on me. The rash and thoughtless words that hurt another person. The foolish, self-centred act, done without pondering the consequences to one’s self or others, can affect our lives and relationships for a long time to come.
Proverbs says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty” (Prov. 21:5). “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 29:20). To which James adds, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:19-20).
But there is one particular matter concerning which the Word of God counsels haste. That is in dealing with the destiny of our eternal souls. And, perversely, it’s just here that Satan wants us to slow down! He’ll whisper that we have lots of time yet to sow those wild oats. But, in reality, we never know. On “9-11,” did those on their way to work in the World Trade Centre know the curtain would fall on three thousand lives that day? No, it likely seemed like any other day.
Unlike the slick salesman who feigns concern about us, while being bent on emptying our wallets, unlike the lustful young man who craves pleasure at another’s expense, God’s great heart of love goes out to us. He is our Creator, and He wants what’s best for us. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to pay our debt of sin on the cross (Jn. 3:16).
Faith in Christ, and what He did for us at Calvary, is the only way of salvation (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12). In that light, and with consideration of the brevity and uncertainties of life, the Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time [the time of an open welcome]; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8).
In that vein, gospel song writer George Root gave us Why Do You Wait? It’s a song challenging sinners to hasten to a loving heavenly Father the way the prodigal son returned to the father who loved him (Lk. 15:18-24). Or the way a beggar was urged by the surrounding multitude who “called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you’: (Mk. 10:49).
CH-1) Why do you wait, dear brother,
Oh, why do you tarry so long?
Your Saviour is waiting to give you
A place in His sanctified throng.
Why not? Why not?
Why not come to Him now?
Why not? Why not?
Why not come to Him now?
CH-2) What do you hope, dear brother,
To gain by a further delay?
There’s no one to save you but Jesus,
There’s no other way but His way.
CH-4) Why do your wait, dear brother?
The harvest is passing away,
Your Saviour is longing to bless you,
There are danger and death in delay.
1) What are some things in life that do require immediate attention and haste?
2) What are some things in the Christian life that are better treated with patience and a willingness to wait?