Journal Acts 28 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery.
And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him.
And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.” Acts 28:7-10
Observation: When I see unsaved people, people who perhaps I perceive need the saving grace of Jesus through the Gospel, what do I envision?
Do I envision the first sections of Acts where multitudes are stricken in their hearts and cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” Or do I envision simple acts of being led by the Holy Spirit to compassionately care for whomever is in front of me by praying, laying hands on the sick, and being a vessel and herald of the Kingdom of God?
Analysis: I know what my double minded heart envisions: Both. What comes to mind is what Jesus asked the disciples: “Who shall be the greatest among you?”
I, like every person walking upright, has an ego. Humility is in battle with pride every day. Paul probably was no better than me during this time, especially when favor is shown, and honor is bequeathed. My bet is that he squirmed uncomfortably between being grateful to God and to these folks.
It is the problem with preaching the Gospel to myself. Do I deserve this lavish Grace? If this Grace is undeserved, what does that make me? Undeserved? If I embrace, fully embrace, my underserved-ness, what am I and how does my ego feel?
The point is that it is a struggle. Paul recognizes that in his letter to the Philippians: “Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil 2:12)
What should I be prepared for in situations like what Paul and his group were experiencing? How I prepare? Perhaps a few don’ts sprinkled in with a few do’s:
- Live with determination to walk worthy of the Gospel even if alone. Beware of the tendency to “shift into ministry mode” when called upon a specific situation.
- Determine to live in humility and seek God and in the Scriptures to what that means. If Salvation is to be worked out daily with fear and trembling, how is humility to be worked out?
I read this excerpt from Acts 28, and I perceive: 1) Humility and Gratefulness in action: “Thank you for your hospitality.”; 2) Within the three days of hospitality, the host’s father is revealed with sickness and Paul perhaps offers to pray and lay hands on the father.; 3) The resulting healing gets publicized and more around the town exclaims, “Me too, me too.”
Excerpt doesn’t say how many. Was Paul’s faithful confidence as strong with Publius’ father as the last person prayed for? Was the tribute of “whatever was needed” (and make no mistake, this could be taken for tribute), received nobly and with humble dignity?
Finally, do I read this Chapter with a question on how I can imitate what I read or is it just a story of the past exploits of the Apostles—never to be replicated again? On this last question, let the answer of my heart be: Yes, I want to replicate this in my Generation and teach it to the following generations in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit….
Prayer: Lord God, I am in a valley, and it is difficult to look up. My wife as well. However, I raise my eyes to the heavens, and I know that You are there, high and lifted up, shining with the power of your glory.
Depending upon You, every moment of the day…
Ricky Two Shoes