It is time for Acts chapter 20. I was originally going to combine this with the next few chapter, as it really is one big story, but there is so much to learn in each chapter that I ended up splitting them. Please do take note of the common story and theme throughout the next few chapters.
First of all, there is a fellow sitting in a window, who falls asleep and falls out of the window. As you would expect, he dies, but then Paul goes outside and raises him from the dead. How cool is that? We often ‘limit’ healing for people who have had no choice (like an illness which the person didn’t cause themselves). How many people would say that falling out of a window is a tragedy but you shouldn’t have been in the window in the first place (I hear my mother asking us why we would do such a silly thing). Here is the question. If this happened today, how many of you would actually attempt to raise the person from the dead? Probably not many. Then we ask why we don’t see miracles like this anymore.
Now Paul is trying to get to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost, but he knows that it is going to be a difficult time. He states the following in verses 20 – 24. And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Wow. I’m not sure if I will be saying the same thing there. I mean I know that what I teach will often generate a reaction, and people have said some pretty hurtful stuff to me because of my faith, but I have never really been in any physical danger (that I know of). Paul knew that he was going to be locked up, very possibly beaten, and even potentially killed. He went anyway. Spreading the gospel was more important to Paul than his life. Where does our calling from God fall in our priorities? I’m not suggesting that we all give up our day jobs and move to North Korea to preach the gospel and risk our lives (unless god calls us to do so), I’m just asking how important it is to you. What is more important to you that what God has called you to? Your free time, family, job, money, or even your life? Preaching the gospel was more important than all of these things to Paul. You see, so often people use verses like this to try and guilt us into doing things. That is not my intention. I believe (I’m still working on getting my actions to match up) that God’s way is best. I believe that God has got better things in store for us than we could ever achieve on our own. He is a good God, He doesn’t want to drag us off to a place where we won’t be happy, He has created us for a purpose, and we won’t be truly happy until we step into what He has for us. If you make it into heaven one day (I hope that you have accepted Jesus as your saviour and will do), ask Paul if he regrets going to Jerusalem. Paul will have some regrets, but I doubt that this was one of them. God has the best in store for our lives, but we settle for less because we don’t trust God. This is the bottom line. I’m not condemning anyone, I include myself in this too, but I am always deciding to trust God more and more. It is a decision, not a warm fuzzy feeling. Join me in deciding to make the right decisions.
Join me for the next posts, where we continue to follow Paul’s journey and learn from it. Think about what has been said here, and how important God’s calling is to you. Think about what decisions you can make to allow God’s power to flow through your life. The Bible says that it is better to give than to receive, but it also says that if we prove ourselves with a little, we’ll be given much. The more you step out for God and trust Him, the more He’ll do through you. Who knows, you may be the person raising someone from the dead one day, or leading many people to the Lord. If so, it would all have started because you started trusting God more and more, and deciding to do what He has called you to do over what you want to. This is my mission. Make it yours.