Message: In Acts chapter 14 Paul and Barnabas
preached in Lystra and when God healed a man through them the town thought they
were gods and began trying to make sacrifices to them. Paul and Barnabas tried
to tell them that they were only men and to turn to God who has given them
every need and pleasure but they didn’t stop until some people came from the
surrounding towns and won them against Paul to the point that they stoned him
until they thought he was dead. Reading all of this sounded like a terrible
report until we see that they moved on to the next city and to evangelize and
then came back to all of the cities that persecuted them and strengthened the
believers in the churches they had planted. Somehow through all of that bad
report I missed that they successfully planted several churches!
Command: Push through the opposition.
Promise: There are valuable things to be found
in our oppositions.
Warning: If we give up when things get hard we
miss something of value things that can only be found in the struggle.
Application: This story reminded me of some of the
gold mining shows we watch. These crews are out in remote places digging and
processing hundreds of yards of dirt. Their equipment breaks down constantly,
they occasionally get injured, turn on
each other or have opposition from outside people, but then the man in charge
of cleaning up and processing the gold comes out with a jar and they measure
how much gold they caught. It seems ridiculous that they would endure all of
that for a small jar of gold dust but they have already calculated the expense
of running all of that equipment and digging through all of that dirt to
harvest something that is so valuable. We have to see people as so valuable
that we would discount all of the terrible things that happen to us. The people
who turn on us, and those who hurt us or reject us are worth the fight knowing
that the salvation of those who receive is worth all of it. God saw us as so
valuable that he sacrificed himself. Now we need to be so passionate about
those he sent us to harvest that we discount all of the hard things we endure
in the process. Maybe the valuable thing we obtain through the struggle was wisdom.
Maybe the fight appears to have left you beat up beside a heap of worthless
dirt, but you discover that wisdom just might be your reward of gold nuggets
when all is said and done.