Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 21-22; Acts 14
“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith” (Acts 14:21-22 NIV).
Paul and Barnabas didn’t have it easy. They were spit at, rebuked, chased and stoned. They were persecuted and ridiculed, yet they still reached out to others. They had a great desire to share the Good News of Christ with all who would believe. They spoke the truth, even in the midst of persecution, and encouraged their brothers and sisters in Christ to stand firm.
I’ll admit it, when I feel beat down, the last thing I want to do is encourage someone else. Instead, I want to focus on my own hurts, pains and fears. I want to focus on how I’ve been mistreated, instead of encouraging someone else. Yet this is exactly the example Paul and Barnabas set for us. They encouraged and gave, even when they were at the end of their selves. And look how God used them! Paul and Barnabas had such an amazing ministry, and brought so many to Christ. At times I wonder if I could ever do the same. They seem so much greater then men, so much more important.
But they’re not really. They’re just men, willing to be broken and used by their Savior.
I wonder what ways God could use me today, if I truly got over myself and my own misfortunes and focused on others instead. If, instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I focused on what I could do to love and serve others.
I’m sure some amazing things would start to happen.
Lord, please help me to look past myself and truly see the needs of others today. Show me practical ways in which I can love them, and draw them closer to your side.