Guest Post: Working at Walmart and Holy Waiting

I met Tom in my first seminary class at Asbury Theological Seminary. I remember being impressed with his knowledge of church history and how he assimilated it into a larger theological framework. Throughout my years at Asbury, Tom was a great presence of humility, wisdom and hard work. Tom wrote a great reflection for us today. I loved it. If you are interested in guest posting, here is more information.

With working at Wal Mart, one of the most common responses that I get from older customers is that they are waiting for their significant others to finish up their shopping.  It got me thinking, and here is my profound thought for though for the day and that is waiting can and should be a spiritual practice, especially for us Americans.  Living in a culture that demands results yesterday along with fast answers, we have lost all meaning to the words of hope, endurance, and faith.  These things are a critical pieces to any faith, but especially the Christian faith.

Here are some practical ideas about Holy Waiting

1. We are not called to be lazy. 
The misconception is that holy waiting is another term for laziness and it is not.  Holy waiting is the willing to do the work and results will come.  People who holy wait often have a depth and maturity about them that can only be a result of waiting on God.  There are plenty of warnings and condemnation through out Scripture for those who are lazy or take the easy way out.  Laziness really implies that we are waiting for God and or others to show up and do all the heavy lifting and we can somehow get our name on the credits.  Or that just by showing up we can somehow get credit with the good deeds just by showing up or doing the flashy stuff  Laziness often breads a lack of depth, commitment, and even discontent.

2. It builds anticipation.
When we are in the process of holy waiting, we are waiting for God and living our lives according to what has been promised.  Just as Simeon was not only anticipating the coming Messiah, he was anticipating the Messiah in his lifetime.  He lived his life in accordance to what has been revealed to him.  When we are holy waiting, often it is putting one foot in front of the other and doing what we know that God has revealed and called us to do

3. It is becoming prepared.
During this season of life, God calls us to be more mature and just as gold or silver goes through a refinement process, so shall we.  God may call us to something or to leave something behind for something better.  God is always calling us to a deeper relationship, but there are seasons where it is more prevalent than others.  This is a season that is marked by the use of the Christian disciplines.  Whether it is fasting, Scripture reading, prayer, writing in a journal, or any other spiritual practice, it is a time for reflection, listening and growth.  This is where the rubber starts to meet the road, because it starts to get real when we are encountering the Holy and asking the Trinitarian God to change us.

4. It builds endurance.
The Christian life is not so much a sprint to see who can get there the fastest.  I know different people mature at a variety of paces for different reasons.  Endurance and faith go hand in hand.  It is trusting God to come through in the presence, just as He has came through in the past.  It a results based culture this is the hardest one to swallow, because we all want to be sucessful and not to put in that much time or effort.  I have heard that if someone wants to be sucessful at a job, its roughly ten thousand hours of doing the hard work and working from the bottom up.  Now I don’t want to say that if someone works at it, they can be a mature Christian in so many years.  If we trust God and follow His leading, it will happen.  Also, if being mature was easy, everyone would do it.

5. Its all about timing. 
Throughout Scripture there are two concepts of time.  The first concept is day, month and year.  I can say that I will go to the doctor tomorrow and it is in stone.  The other concept of time is more of a fulfillment of time.  It is the idea of perfect timing of when everything comes together and is right.  This sort of timing is tough for us because we don’t have as much control over it as we would like to.  There are more factors that need to happen that we are not in control of.  When all those things are not forced, it is a fastball down the middle of the plate and Babe Ruth is up to bat.

6.  It leads to action. 
Holy waiting leads to “well, what we are waiting for?”  Everything has come together and it is God calling us to get off of our hands and do what He has called us to do.  It can be anything from entering the full time ministry to ones calling to seminary, marriage, to even sharing the Gospel with a friend or coworker.  The Trinitarian God invites us to participate with Him in what they are doing in our world  It is faith and maturity living out in our world on a daily basis.  It is being the hands and feed of the God.  It is remembering that God the Father came up with the plan, God the Son, made a way for that plan to be carried out through His death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit convicts and applies that work in our lives

Tom Boustead lives in Northern Minnesota.  He is a 2009 graduate of Asbury Seminary with a MA in Christian Ministry.  Tom works at Wal Mart and is actively involved in his local church. Tom blogs at

Guest Post: Matt Stout on Spiritual Renewal and Parenting

Matt is a good friend from seminary. He wrote and drew an amazing cartoon with a hilarious look on the seminary life. I am proud to own an autographed copy with a custom bigfoot sketch! He offers us some great words on spiritual renewal and parenting. If you are interested in guest posting, here is some information.


I’ve been reading Chad’s various blogs since we met in seminary, and have always found them to be helpful and uplifting.  However, there have been a few occasions when I’ve been reading about Chad’s life and routine and think, “It must be nice to be able to do that!”

 See, I have two wonderful daughters.  One is a toddler, and the other just learned how to crawl.  I love them so much, but to say they are a disruption to a disciplined spiritual life is an understatement.  I remember reading once on this blog about how nice it is to wake up in the early mornings and spend time with God and get some stuff done unencumbered by the business that comes up later in the day.  I can’t relate to that.  My girls wake up between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning, and for some reason they aren’t content if I get out my bible and pray at that time.  So, rather than an energizing burst of productivity, my early mornings are filled with cries of “I hungee” and trying my hardest to get my oldest to pee pee in the potty.  Some mornings their constant need for my attention can be draining before my day even really gets started.
I don’t say this to complain about my life, or to draw comparisons to Chad’s life.  My point here is to encourage people with kids, especially young kids, that there is spiritual renewal in the midst of these incredibly needy people we’re surrounded by.

Our kids don’t have to sap our spiritual energy, they can help us know God better.

Children Give Us An Opportunity To Deny Ourselves
Actually, they give us lots of opportunities to deny ourselves.  As much as we need to be refreshed spiritually, the overall trajectory of the Christian life is to give ourselves away for the sake of others.  There is no greater opportunity to practice this than parenthood.  Whether it’s giving up our mornings for an early riser, putting things at work on hold to go to a doctor’s appointment, or watching PBS Kids during your downtime instead of whatever Netflix show you’d rather watch; we get to put ourselves second a lot.  Sure, we can view this as a necessary evil or an annoying fact of life, but if we view it through the lens of Jesus I believe we can extend it to those outside our family too.  We can make laying down our lives for our kids a spiritual practice that helps us lay down our lives for others too.
Children Give Us Insight Into Ourselves
One of the big challenges in my house right now is trying to teach our toddler not to whine.  If she doesn’t get exactly what she wants when she wants it, she will whine about it.  So whining is a big no-no now around our house, but it’s opened my eyes to how whiny I can be to God.  It seems like any discomfort I experience, or any negative thing I feel, I complain about it to God.  After sending Ruthie to her room for whining the other day, I thought, “I ought to be grounded for the amount of whining I do to God.”  Relating to God as my heavenly Father has taken on a whole new dimension since I became a father myself.  It’s humbling to see how much like a toddler I am in my spiritual walk sometimes.
Children Force Us To Get Creative About Our Spiritual Lives
So, I can’t wake up at 6 AM and get my day started in the bible.  It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be reading the bible anyway.  I just need to get creative.  I may schedule my first half-hour at work from some scripture reading and prayer in my office.  I can move my study time to after they go to bed.  I can read them a story from a children’s bible and talk about it.  (I don’t think anybody is above learning about God from a children’s bible.)  My prayer life has taken a hit since becoming a parent, but now I’m teaching my daughter to pray and it’s so rich.  Sometimes I sing hymns to my youngest to try to get her to nap, and that’s a time to enrich my faith as I instill a love for those old songs in her.  Getting creative and involving our kids in our spirituality is a benefit, not a hindrance.
All of this is to say: It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and think, “Sure, it’s easy for YOU to pray, but you don’t have to deal with the stuff I have to deal with!”  We all get caught in that kind of thinking sometimes.  But God gives us each different seasons, and no season lasts forever.  It’s our job to connect with God and to develop spiritual practices in whatever season of life we are in.  For those of us who are parents of young kids, thank God for them.  They’re teaching us and forming us.  Let’s pay attention to the ways it’s happening and join with God in the process.
Matt Stout is the Director of Student Ministries at College Place UMC in Brunswick, GA.  He’s married to a fantastic woman, has two daughters, and two dogs.  He’s a television enthusiast and an avid indoorsman.  Back when he used to have free time, he was an amateur cartoonist.  You can find some of his old cartooning work at