Reading through the book of Acts once again, I'm struck by Paul's simple faith. Over and over he proclaims the same simple message:
"I was a religious murderer of Christ's followers until God struck me blind, and Jesus revealed Himself to me as Lord. After that I was convinced of the Message of Grace, which I learned from the testimony of His Life, Death, and Resurrection. I began to tell other people about this Message, traveling wherever I could go with the same Good News to any people who would listen and believe."
I'm serious - that's virtually the whole book in one paragraph. Am I wrong?
He was bitten by a snake,
he preached Jesus to the lost.
He was slapped and refuted,
he spoke the Truth of the Gospel.
He was rejected by his brothers,
he told them more about Jesus.
He was chased out of town,
he preached Jesus in a different town.
He was thrown in jail,
he preached Salvation to the guards.
He was beaten and flogged,
he praised God and preached the Gospel of Resurrection again.
He was forbidden to speak in the Synagogue,
he preached Jesus to the Gentiles.
He went without pay,
he preached Jesus while building tents.
People tried to worship him,
he showed them how to worship Christ.
He was imprisoned for years at a time,
he preached Grace through faith in Jesus via letters delivered to churches by his friends.
"We do not preach about ourselves, but we preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we are your servants for Jesus."
-2 Corinthians 4:5 (NCV)
It's not complicated - Paul did whatever he could to fulfill his anointed calling to bring Jesus to the highways and byways, the culturally diverse, the worst of law-breakers, and anyone who would listen. Some received Christ. Sone did not. It was simple, but not easy. He wasn't deterred. Come persecution, suffering, discouragement, or thorns - it mattered not.
Paul's simple mission, life, prayer, activity, word, pursuit, and devotion was to bring people closer to Christ and Christ closer to people.
I will not be ashamed if anyone ever accuses me of the same.
God has spoken! Speaking claims hearing. God asks but one thing; it is so simple and right; that we should listen. Shall we not hearken, in holy reverence and worship, with wholehearted attention and surrender, to what He would say to us in this Epistle too? ... It is the heart God wants; let us open the whole heart to listen and to long. - Andrew Murray
Lord, I long for simple. Just one thing - to bring Christ through me to others. Nothing more and nothing less. I will not be satisfied with a complicated mess of distracted "churchy" or "religious" things. I'm surrendered to You and Your plan to preach through me to reach lost souls for Your Kingdom. Thank You for the undeserved privilege that is, Jesus. I have no other choice. Your love compels me to love You back.
Photo credit: Tim Laman