Summary: Abraham and Sarah grew impatient and took matters into their own hands. If we are not careful, we can make the same mistake.


A. The story is told of two little boys who were waiting for breakfast one morning.

1. As their mother was preparing some pancakes, the boys began to argue loudly over who would get the first one from the griddle.

2. Their mother saw an opportunity to teach a lesson.

3. She said, “If Jesus were sitting here, he would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’”

4. The older of the two boys turned to the other and said, “Okay, I’ll let you be Jesus this morning.”

B. Most of us want to be like Jesus, but we really don’t want to patiently wait for anything! Right?

1. We don’t like to wait in traffic. We don’t like to wait in lines at the store.

2. We go to fast food restaurants, because we don’t want to wait for the food to be prepared.

3. We don’t want to wait for our next raise or until we save, we just charge it.

4. We are a people who are accustomed to instant gratification.

C. The ABC show 20/20 once did an experiment with some children.

1. They wanted to see how the kids would do with waiting and self-control.

2. The children were given two choices: They could have a single cookie right now, or they could wait until the reporter ran an errand, and then they could have two cookies.

3. Some of the children grabbed the single cookie immediately, but others waited up to 20 minutes to receive their two cookies.

4. Those who waited used all kinds of tactics to sustain themselves.

a. Some covered their eyes so that they would not see the cookies set before them.

b. Others rested their heads on their arms, talked to themselves, sang and even tried to sleep.

5. The follow-up study revealed that those who were able to wait and forgo the instant gratification kept the same temperament throughout their adolescence.

6. The more impulsive kids who gave into instant gratification were more stubborn, indecisive and stressed.

7. How good are you at waiting? Could you have held out for the 2 cookies?

D. As we continue our series on Avoiding Life’s Biggest Mistakes, we want to talk today about Avoiding the Mistake of Impatience.

1. As we try to walk a life of faith, waiting on God is one of the hardest parts.

2. Trusting in God’s promises, and waiting for God to show us the way is very difficult.

3. It’s not that we don’t want God to act on our behalf, it’s just that we want to Him to act in our timing not His; and in our way, not His.

4. We want God to hurry up. Right?

E. Our good/bad example for this lesson comes out of the Old Testament and comes from the life of a couple named Abraham and Sarah.

1. The part of their story we will look at today is found in Genesis 16.

I. Their Story

A. How many of us have ever made an important decision without first consulting the Lord?

1. We all probably do, and far to often.

2. But why?

a. Maybe it’s because we don’t believe enough in prayer.

b. Maybe it’s because we’re lazy.

c. Or maybe it’s because we think that God is too busy to get involved in our mundane little problems.

3. I don’t know why we do. All I know is that we tend to make way too many decisions without first looking to the Lord for wisdom and direction.

4. We sometimes make decisions about marriage, about business, and about our futures, and we don’t stop and to ask the all important question, “What does GOD want me to do? How does the Lord of heaven and earth feel about this?”

5. Maybe we don’t ask God because we want to call the shots! We want to control our own destinies! We want to do what we want to do.

B. I believe that this is exactly where Abraham and Sarah went wrong in Genesis 16.

1. The very first sentence of verse one sets the tone, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.”

2. God had promised Abram several times that he would have children.

3. In Genesis 12:7, he said, “to you AND YOUR OFFSPRING I will give this land.”

4. But that was years ago. Now, they live in the land of Canaan, where they have been for 10 years, and Sarah is 75 years old.

5. She’s way past the age when women normally have babies.

C. Genesis 16:2 says, “so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’”

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