Have you ever read through the fourteenth chapter of Acts? We did in Bible study and the life of Paul astounded me once again. This man would not give up sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. He faced so much opposition, division and physical abuse, but he never gave up. In this chapter he is even stoned and left for dead outside of the city. The man got up and went back into town. Who would do such a thing? Wouldn’t fear keep you away?
As we read this chapter a few times, the thought hit me that Paul must have thought that the Good News was worth sharing and that all people were worth telling. Why else would he have risked his life time and time again? The whole stoning thing would have shut me up I am afraid, but I pray I would have this kind of love and courage. Paul obviously knew whom he belonged to and had eternity in mind.
Another point that stood out to me in this chapter was the reaction some towns people had when he healed a man who had been crippled all his life. They began praising him like he was a god. His response was remarkable. He deflected all praise off of himself and back to the source of healing power, God. A woman in Bible study made the comment about modern day pastors who react in this way versus ones that seek glory for themselves. I do not trust teachers that are full of pride, for they will fall. Humility and a person who serves are the marks of a true leader and one who looks the most like Christ. Be careful who you allow to teach you.
Every time I read the Bible I am amazed at the lives of those who have gone before us. Some you learn from their mistakes and others you want to emulate. There is so much wisdom that can save us from years of wandering, where we miss out on a relationship with Jesus. Each page has words we need to read and ones that give us more insight into who God is. The more you dig into scripture, the more you realize you want to learn. Your love for God and others is the result. You want to make much of Him and little of yourself. I also want to pray that the risk of looking foolish, being persecuted and alone would not even compare to the joy found only in Jesus.
When we believe in our heart that He is worth it, people become worth it too. How can we withhold this news that will not only change lives now, but for eternity? Sometimes when I am out running errands, each person I pass I wonder if they know Christ. Do I risk looking foolish or keep going? There have been times where conversations have started and words just flow. He is so much apart of me that it is just as normal to speak about Christ as it is to talk about my family. However, I have not been put in a foreign country or a very hostile environment. Would I still be as bold? Would you?
For where God has me this day, I think I will go the way of courage. I will be ready to give an answer for my hope and speak words of love. We have it pretty easy compared to other places in our world. I do not think we will get to heaven and wish we would not have shared Jesus less. If anything, I think we will regret not sharing Him more. What is the worst that can happen? Someone looks at us weird, says something ugly or laughs? That sounds like a trip back into the halls of middle school! We made it through those rough years didn’t we? We are wiser now and hopefully rooted in the amazing love of God. Each person we encounter is worth sharing the Good News. May we be people of discernment and courage. May we not be afraid to speak the truth in love, but live it first. If our lives do not match up to our words, why would anyone find us worth listening too? I look forward to seeing who the Lord puts in our paths!