One of my favorite entertainment genres is historical fiction. I love to think about how people lived in a different time. Not just the facts, but all the drama, too. What did they wear, how did they talk, what did they eat, how did they interact with each other? I find it all very fascinating. And I find myself asking the question, what would I do if I lived in that time?
When I read the book of Acts, I must constantly remind myself, this is not a novel. This is real! The story of Paul is fascinating and includes all the drama any one could want, miracles, book burning, rioting, violence, family, friendship, religion, politics, corruption, and conspiracy. Paul is constantly put into situations where he must choose between his own safety and doing what God wants him to do. I find myself asking, “What would I do if I was in Paul’s shoes? Would I run? Would I cave in to safety? Would I stand up and do what is right?” Reality is that I would probably just talk about it a lot. I would ask my friends. I would pray about it. I would try to get others to agree to my rationalization of what I should do. I may blame others for putting me in this situation. I might even blame God. What Paul does is eye opening and encouraging to me. In Acts 20:19-24 Paul says,
“19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit[a] to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
Paul realizes his life has a purpose and it is telling a story that God wants us to hear. Everything he does, despite all the drama, despite all the ridicule and danger has the purpose of spreading the news about Jesus and His incredible gift of grace.
I can easily get caught up in all the drama of my life and start focusing on that instead of the purpose God has for my life. I sensationalize it, bask in it, post it on social media, gossip about it. Paul helps me to see that God is telling a story through my life that brings others to Him. So, I must choose. Will I focus on the drama or will I take the opportunity to point others to Him. What will your story be?
Family Life Director