Healing God, thank You for Your peace, Your abiding presence, and Your strength equal to all my stress.
Read Acts 20:17-38
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Jesus Christ is “the faithful witness” (Rev. 1:5). Reflect on the meaning of this phrase, turning your thoughts into praise to God for the Lord Jesus.
John Bunyan captures the importance of faithfulness for Christian life and service when he describes what it takes to be a pilgrim: “He’ll fear not what men say; He’ll labor night and day.” Perseverance, refusal to be distracted, willingness to face hardship, reliable communication of the truth and absolute integrity are all key to Christian ministry. Paul claims that all these apply to his service among the Ephesians. It’s quite a claim! Today we tend to play up our failures rather than our accomplishments in Christ’s service. Paul has no such misgivings, not because he is proud or arrogant, but because he is faithful. He has simply done as he was asked. And because he claims no rights of his own, he does not question the demands the Lord Jesus makes on his life (24). Like Jesus (John 17:4), he has completed the work he has been allocated.
We prize our comfort and security. We protect ourselves from criticism. We make allowances for ourselves. These responses reflect the molding we have undergone by our culture. The author Ian McEwan creates the character of Professor Michael Beard in his novel, Solar. Beard is obsessed with his status, his reputation and his sexual appetite. He is a glutton and a liar. McEwan acutely dissects the human condition; we are interested primarily in ourselves. Following Christ is a totally different path. The Gospel always provokes challenge. Where faithful work is done, there will be a backlash, questioning the validity and veracity of what has been said and done. That is why modeling Christian leadership is so important. We are the beneficiaries of those who, down through the centuries, have kept watch, guarded the truth, worked hard and helped the weak. The next generation depends on our faithfulness.
Bring the Lord your repentance for any unfaithfulness, thanks for his past faithfulness and your intercession for those who have responded negatively to your presentation of the Gospel.
Father, I’m challenged by the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (35). Empower me to put self aside so I can serve better.
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