In Acts 1, just before Jesus ascends into heaven, he gathers the disciples together on a mountain. Apparently they sense that something is about to happen, so they grasp at the first straw that occurs to them: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
There are theological things wrong with this question, but in his commentary on Acts, Calvin points out that it also tells us something about the disciples’ hearts: “They desire to triumph before the battle.” They want the kingdom without all that suffering and unpleasantness Jesus always seems to focus on.
That’s an indictment of many of us in ministry. We want to see victory and success before we put in the hard work. Conversions without evangelism. Authority without relationship. Holiness without struggle. Language acquisition without sounding like an idiot. Growth without work.
It didn’t work that way for the disciples. Chances are it won’t work that way for us either.