Acts 14:1-7 (NRSV)
Resistance to the message of the apostles
Well, Paul and Barnabus learned an important lesson in today’s scripture…GOOD NEWS is meant to be freely received! As long as there were folks in Iconium who were willing to hear the GOOD NEWS, scripture teaches us that Paul and Barnabus “spoke boldly for the Lord.” It was during that season of the open door that “a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers.”
Doesn’t it feel great when we share the GOOD NEWS with others and they joyfully receive it? You can really tell when God has prepared the heart of a person to receive GOOD NEWS. It seems that s/he is really open, receptive, and excited to learn what you have to share. She might have a million questions or he might just pop up in unexpected places, all in an effort to get around you and to get a little bit of what you’ve got.
It is one of my greatest honors that many non-Christians say that I am one of the most joyful people they have ever met. Lots of “unbelievers” just love to be in my presence, to ask me questions, to seek out God’s wisdom for their lives. If asked, they wouldn’t be able to tell you what attracts them to me; but I can! It’s the Holy Spirit of God working in me and through me to touch their heart with God’s Never-Give-Up Love and Amazing-Kind-of-Grace!
Now, as long as people want to hear the word and are receptive to it, I’ll share with wild abandon. But, I have learned, like Paul and Barnabus, that when the season of the open door is over, it is time to move on! Paul and Barnabus realized it was time to go when they were threatened with death and run out of the city! But, the invitation to move on to other more fertile fields is not always this blunt.
Sometimes resistance is more subtle; but, when you notice that a person or a people group is not ready to hear the GOOD NEWS, don’t despair! Your call to go to the “next city” does not necessarily mean that God has given up on them. It just means that your season of service is complete for the time being. Remember, scripture teaches us that sometimes one plants seed and another waters it, but it is God, and God alone, who gives the harvest!
Don’t attempt to kick down the door when someone is not ready. Wait for the season of the open door when God’s Holy Spirit is at work in the person, people, or city preparing them to believe GOOD NEWS! But while you wait, don’t sit on your hands! Remember, there are always other people, in other locations, who need—and want—to hear GOOD NEWS!
Every day I am stunned to tears that God allows us to partner with God to love the whole world! We are God’s open arms outstretched, running feet spreading glad tiding to all people, and gentle words of love and encouragement spoken at the time of greatest need.
Who have you noticed might be open to hearing GOOD NEWS today?
Loving God, you are better to us than we are to ourselves. Please forgive us for trying to kick the door down, when you have shown us by your example that you expect us to stand at the door and knock. Help us to be sensitive to the season of the open door and to share as you lead us. We really want to share GOOD NEWS with those who will receive it. You are the preparer of hearts; help us to wait on you. In Jesus Name, Amen.
*The entire scripture reading for today can be found by clicking the ELCA Daily Bible Reading Tab to the right.
*from Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com/
*EACH ONE--REACH ONE! To share GOOD NEWS with a friend please click the "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.
*Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.
*Check out the map to the right! Do you know anyone in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, South America, Australia, Africa, Western Europe, or Asia that you can share GOOD NEWS with today?