14. How committed are we?

I was reading through Acts and one story in particular amazed me. (There are several amazing stories, but I would like to pause with this one for the moment.) This story is about the commitment of Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey.

They started in Cyprus and continued towards Turkey as we know it today. Now they arrived at Antioch of Pisidia and started preaching boldly. Many people believed and turned towards God. But soon the Jewish leaders became jealous of their following and incited a mob to chase them out of town. Next they went to Iconium. The same thing happened there, many people turned towards God and accepted Jesus into their lives, but soon enough the leaders incited another mob against them and chased them out of town. This didn't deter them though, they simply continued further and entered the town of Lystra.

In Lystra they preached again and even healed a man who had never been able to walk due to his cripple feet. When the people saw this they thought that they were gods. The people at Lystra all knew a myth about their town. The myth said that centuries ago two gods visited their town, namely Zeus and Hermes. They came down from 'heaven', disguised themselves as ordinary people and went into town to see if the town's people were hospitable or not. They were disappointed to find that no one welcomed them, or even offered them any hospitality except for an old couple. The legend continues to say that the gods became angry and killed all the people in the town and rewarded the old couple. Now when the people of the town saw Paul and Barnabas performing these amazing miracles, they thought they were Zeus and Hermes who had come back to test them again. None of the citizens wanted to make the same mistake again and they rushed to bring Paul and Barnabas all sorts of offerings and they worshipped them. Needless to say Paul and Barnabas was appalled by this and tried to stop them and focus their attention on Jesus instead of them.

Now here comes the interesting part for me. It was not long after the crowd 'worshipped' them, when some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and stirred them up into a murderous mob to kill Paul and Barnabas. (Sounds like the Jews welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem with songs of praise and a week later yelling 'Crucify Him!' Doesn't it?) Anyway, this mob dragged Paul out of the city, stoned him and left him for dead. And what did Paul do? He simply got up and went back into the city! And more than that after they went to preach in Derbe they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (where they had been chased away) to support and encourage the believers there. Amazing.

Think about it. Imagine it was you. You are kicked out of three towns by an angry mob, stoned in one and left for dead, what would you do? I think I will run as far away as I could, never ever to return! And yet here they don't run away, no they simply went back there to preach some more. Wow. That is absolute dedication and commitment to a cause.

Now my question is: are we as committed? Will we tell people about the Lord and continue to tell them about Him even if they mock us? Will we continue to stand firm in our faith, when the 'mob' around us don't approve of it? Will we continue to pray for a cause/someone even if we don't see a single result for years and years? Will we dust off our clothes and simply go back to show love to people who hate us?

We can learn a lot from the commitment that the apostles had. There was simply no other option in their minds. They had a job to do and they went on living and preaching for God, even when it cost them their lives. Think about this next time you feel like giving up.

Father, thank you for giving us the strength to go on and on, no matter what the circumstances. Help us to stand strong in our faith, and to never compromise. We love You too much. In Jesus Name. Amen

1 comment for “14. How committed are we?”

  1. Gravatar of LouinaLouina
    Posted Friday, 02 September 2011 at 8:30:27 AM

    Thanks for reminding me of our commitment. I think Paul's commitment changed from taking the Word of God to the people to a love for God and being obedient to what God asked him to do. I think that without that love and passion for God no human being will be able to commit in the circumstances that Paul did.

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