Thursday, April 14, 2005

What You Can, When You Can

A Saturday Night Live skit recently satirized President Bush and his never-ending efforts for the country. “I’m working 24/7. That’s twenty-four hours a week. Seven months out of the year.”

The President’s work is important. It does require a good bit of time, no doubt. Probably more than the twenty-four/seven of Saturday Night Live. Our work is important, too. “Which work?” you ask. The work of taking the good news about salvation in Jesus to the world is important!

There are lost people here and yonder who need to know what sin does to their relationship with the God who has set a day to judge the world, and what that Awesome God has done to make things right with him again. Our opportunities vary with the day. They certainly did with Paul as Luke tells his story in Acts 18.

Paul went from Athens to Corinth to preach. The first thing that Luke wrote points to obstacles that stand in the way of what we want. He said that Aquila and Priscilla were in Corinth because all Jews had been ordered to leave Rome. Sometimes you can’t even live where you want to! But Paul lived with them, working as a tentmaker, in order to keep from being a burden to the Corinthians (cf. 2 Cor. 11:7-12). He taught about Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath days.

When Timothy and Silas arrived, Paul’s opportunities increased because Timothy and Silas were able to help Paul. Paul devoted himself exclusively to the work of preaching and teaching. The funds were there and the time was there. God provided the protection he needed, too. There were people there who wanted to hear. Many of those hearers believed and were baptized. But not everybody.

Even though he had funds, and time, and protection; Paul still had those who opposed him. He was taken by force to Galileo, which turned out just to be a waste of time, because Galileo wouldn’t even hear the bogus case they brought against Paul.

Do you see all the things that impact our ability to tell our neighbors and the world what God wants them to hear? There are funds, time limitations, dangers, unwilling hearers, and other responsibilities.

So what can we learn from Paul’s experience in Corinth? Don’t lose site of God’s purpose for you during the slower times. Pick up the pace on the straight-aways. In other words, do what you can, when you can. That’s Life at Work!

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