Acts 28:1-16; 1 Samuel 4-5; Psalm 52
The ship that was taking Paul to Rome wrecked and all aboard were rescued on the island of Malta. As they were building a fire, a snake bit Paul and the islanders thought that this was God’s way of carrying out the death sentence on Paul. But nothing happened to Paul. And then Paul started ministering. “His [the chief official’s] father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” (Acts 28:8-9) There are some so-called Christian groups who take this as an example to follow and they deliberately handle poisonous snakes. That’s not the eternal truth in this story. The eternal truth comes from the fact that Paul continued to minister even as he was headed to Rome for a possible death sentence. Have you ever been in a situation when you decided that you wouldn’t help certain people because they had treated you badly? That’s not God’s way. That’s not the call of God on people who say they follow Him. As followers of Christ, we are called to be God’s hands and heart to those we come into contact with – even if they are trying to kill us. We are ambassadors entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation; we are not ambassadors charged with carrying a grudge. It’s not always easy, but it’s always our call.
Lord, I am so petty sometimes. I let seeming personal sleights get in the way of serving You cheerfully by ministering to others. I confess my vanity. I confess my pride. I ask for forgiveness and the power to be Your ambassador of reconciliation. Continue the process of reconciling with me so that I can show Your reconciliation to others.