There are important lessons we can continue to learn from the early Church:
- We must stay on task. Derailment -Â it’s been defined as “to cause to get off purpose” (dictionary.com). In Acts 20: 1-12, we find Paul preaching when Eutychus falls asleep and falls out the window. Paul stops preaching to go make sure the young man is alright. But then, resumes preaching. Paul did not allow the situation to get him off his focus. He stayed to the task without getting upset or flustered. How do you respond when plans don’t go the way you expect?
- We must remember the mission. Mission has been defined as – that which you have been charged with. If we remember the mission, our lives will stay to task. We will fulfill the purposes for which we have been called. Paul always kept his mission in mind. “I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears … I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear …” (Acts 20:19a & 20a, NLT).
- We have an assignment. The Holy Spirit guided Paul telling him where to go, what to do and the Holy Spirit will tell us as well. Paul did not “shrink back” ( Acts 20:27, NLT) from declaring all God wanted the people to know. We cannot shrink back either. There are those who need us to share about the goodness and salvation of our Lord. Paul knew he had to stay focused to what God called him specifically to do. He did not want to simply finish his race but finish it well. To finish well, we need to stay focused on our purpose, not allowing ourselves to get sidelined or distracted. What has been assigned me? That is the question I’ve asked myself. It may change as the seasons of life change as well. The work assigned to you is important. It’s important to God and to those you’ve been assigned.
- We must give the message of grace. “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself” (Acts 20:32, NLT). It is God’s message of grace that builds us up, and will build up those around us as well as we share His grace, His Good News, the Gospel. Paul, a recipient of God’s grace, knew the power of grace. The world is getting hard, more opinionated, more combative, more critical. Let’s remember God’s grace in our lives, be filled with His grace, and extend His grace to others.
- The best prayer we can pray – “Thy will be done”. In Acts 21:1-14, we find Paul being repeatedly warned not to continue on to Jerusalem. These warnings came from fellow believers who obviously cared deeply for him. They felt there were dangers that awaited him there. Paul felt deeply that he was to continue on and face the dangers. He had a resolve to do the Lord’s will no matter if it included suffering. “The Lord’s will be done.” This should remind us of Jesus’ own words in Gethsemane as He prayed: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39, NLT). This raises a question for us: How do we respond to suffering? To painful situations?
I cannot say my response is always like Paul’s or Jesus’. Sometimes I respond properly but most times … it takes me a bit to get there. But I want to!
The truth is none of us are fans of suffering. But may we grow and come to say with confidence, “The Lord’s will be done.”
His will – In all things in our lives.
Today I am joining … Inspire Me Monday .