Week 42 Sunday

Scattered But Not Defeated

Today’s scripture selection: Acts 7-8

Key Verse: Acts 8:4

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

One of the things I find encouraging about the early church’s history is that persecution seemed to only strengthen it.

They were no strangers to challenges.  They were, from the beginning, in the spiritual minority.  And they must have often felt discouraged.

And yet, they pressed on – literally scattered to the far corners of the known world – yet committed to “preach the word wherever they went.”

Today, there are missionaries still facing persecution and death for their faith.  There are those who must courageously face torture and ridicule – being the minority faith – in a hostile world.

But I live in a world where I face little difficulty because of my beliefs; in fact, if anything, for most of my career I have received praise and respect for the path I have chosen.

So it is hard to identify with those who so willingly face an angry crowd or a public execution for being a follower of Jesus.

Even so, I try to remember the roots of my faith.

I try to remember the courage it must have taken to be a Simon Peter; a Stephen; a James or Paul; a Mary or Martha or Priscilla.

They are more than just the names of a few “religious” folk from long ago.

They are my spiritual ancestors – that is – if I dare to call myself a Christian – a Christ-follower – today.

So here’s today’s challenge.

How can you and I make it clear that our faith is more than just talk?  How can we show our willingness to pay a significant price, if need be, for our faith?  How can we proclaim our desire to be instruments of God’s work, even if there is a cost to be paid?

Thankfully, most of us won’t have to face martyrdom for our beliefs.  But maybe a little “scattering” would do us some good.  Especially if it gives us an opportunity to share God’s love where it has yet to be heard or felt.

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to proclaim my faith without apology – and to serve you – wherever I’m sent in your name.  AMEN.

 

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