March 12 I Monday
“On arriving there, they gathered the church together and
reported all that God had done through them...”—Acts 14:27
In the days of the book of Acts, churches are being planted and rapidly expanding throughout the Mediterranean world. The overwhelming fact the book of Acts teaches is that evangelism is the work of God. In working with God, we are the means He uses, but in working for God, we simply do our best in orchestrating our own plans. Every Christian is called to be a disciple for Christ, but to depend on the measure of our own techniques and ingenuity will be the measure of our powerlessness. We may be able to persuade a few into a Christian position, but we will not make true disciples or converts of them.
In our discipleship, we should not be inclined to think one size fits all; just anyone, anywhere, anytime. If there is no spark that is responsive, the timing is wrong. Many people are searching, but in the wrong places, and we can be quick to criticize for that rather than seeing the heart that is searching. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is because God is also seeking and He places within our hearts the appetite to seek Him and to know Him. In working with God, we learn to recognize His voice and be keen observers of God-given opportunities to witness for Him. He knows which hearts are ripe for the harvest and it is His Spirit who draws them into relationship with Him.
We live in a complex, pressure-filled world so the problem for many of us is that we miss opportunities because of hardships we are facing. We tend to be so engrossed in our own situations that we are no longer on the lookout for God-given opportunities. In Philippi, Paul and Silas had been arrested, severely flogged, cast into prison and put in stocks, yet they were singing hymns and praising God. They saw their painful situation as another opportunity to advance the Gospel, which it did. God is not outwitted by any circumstance and in troubling situations we may very well be in the right place at the right time for God’s purpose.
Salvation is always a work of God. As Christians, we need to be available to Him, even in times of hardship, and in prayerful dependence upon Him we will begin to see things happen. Sometimes we will sow the seed, sometimes water it, and other times we will reap a harvest. Regardless of problems or circumstances, like Paul, we will then be able to report all that God has done because we have aligned ourselves with His agenda and faithfully obeyed His calling.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, Help me to be so in tune with You and your agenda that I will recognize your voice and act at your calling. Thank You, Lord.