Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Fear of the Lord is my Strength (Part 2)

It’s not your job anyway

One of the reasons why I became a Christian was because, over many years, I heard and understood the wonderful miracles Jesus did. Though the awesome (in the scary sense) acts of God that Ananias and Sapphira experienced, in Acts 5, gave the Jews around them reason to believe in God, fear should not be the first and only motivation to love Him. Unfortunately, thousands of Christians have placed their faith in a God, who must be feared with trembling, at all times. Though this judgmental and unwelcoming side of God’s character cannot be ignored, I also believe in a God whose miraculous works can also be joyful, (John 5:8-9), surprising (Matthew 9:20-22), or even bizarre (John 2:1-11, Acts 5:15).

At this point in the early church’s history, people continued to spend regular periods of time together (Acts 2:42). The Holy Spirit had just recently joined them, and there was nothing else these Christians would currently want to do more then to spend time in worship with each other. In Acts 19, miracles continued to take place, one of them in particular even bordered on the absurd.

As followers of Jesus, we often expect that we all have at least some faith, and because Jesus has said that we don’t need a lot, surely we have enough. But what if we have none at all, can Jesus still use us? In chapter 19:11-12, Luke writes that “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”

It makes sense that God did amazing things through Peter and Paul because they were spiritual heavy-weights in the church. Peter had spent three years with Jesus, and Paul would soon spend the rest of his life in prison because of his faith in Him. But a handkerchief and an apron? They don’t even have enough weight in themselves to be a paper weight, let alone have spiritual weight.

But that’s the point. They didn’t have any weight in themselves and couldn’t talk back to the Person who was using them for a purpose they knew nothing about. However unorthodox these healings were, it was never the apron’s job, nor its ability for that matter, to say, “I wasn’t made for this purpose! Fold me up and put me back where you found me!” It was clearly the strength and faith of Someone greater than the apron to do with it what He had decided to use it for.

Is God using you to do something you don’t feel you have the strength to do? Some of us are about to go on mission’s trips, accept jobs as pastors, or teachers in Christian schools and we know exactly what God is using us for and believe we have the faith for him to do it. But others are plumbers, carpenters, mechanics or students with secular endeavors and cannot see how God will use them in these capacities. As you step into the responsibility God has given you, what kind of fear do you have? Are you anxious, or in awe? Are you worried, or in wonder?

Remember, if God can do this much through a handkerchief, He can do whatever He wants through you, whatever amount of faith you may or may not have. It was because of unorthodox miracles like these that the name of Jesus became reverent in the early church.

"Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Matthew 10:28
(New Living Translation)

1 comment:

Karri Fieglien said...

Thank you for your post