Nehemiah 12-13 Acts 4:23-37
“And now, Lord, listen to their threats. Lord, help us, your servants, to speak your word without fear. Show us your power to heal. Give proofs and make miracles happen by the power of Jesus, your holy servant.” (Acts 4:29-30 NCV)
Peter and John went back to the Church after the Jewish leaders released them. They’d been warned not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Remember those guys cowering in the Upper Room even after they knew Jesus had been resurrected? Then they told the Sanhedrin that they would obey God and face the consequences rather than fear man. The church prayed not for safety or protection. They didn’t even pray for material prosperity and health. They prayed for God to give them boldness to proclaim the word of God without fear and to confirm that He was leading them by healings and other proofs and miracles. God answered by shaking the building and the believers and they spoke boldly. The fellowship among the believers grew also.
There are some aspects of American Christianity where it seems like believers think that this whole salvation thing is about them. We accumulate blessings, because God really loves us. We expect never to be sick, because God wouldn’t let His people get sick. We forget that our call is one to service, to proclamation, to sharing. The follow-up verse talks about all the believers sharing boldly, not about the leaders being the only ones to share. If you are a follower of Christ, let me ask why God chose to give you grace? Did God choose to give you grace because you, among all people were most deserving? Did God choose to give you grace because His warehouses of blessings were overflowing, and He needed to dump them all on you? No. God gave each of us His grace so that His amazing power might be seen through us. God blesses us materially so that we can share His overwhelming blessings with others. The early Christians recognized this truth. They prayed for God to give them boldness. They didn’t even need to pray about sharing their wealth with others. They understood that it wasn’t all about them, it’s all about God. Because it’s all about God, their personal comfort wasn’t that important. Take it in small steps today: share your faith with one person today; find one thing you have that you don’t need and use it to help someone in need. Then, tomorrow, find a way to do a bit more. Give away your faith and your possessions until your life reflects your understanding that it really is all about God.
Lord, help me to live each day like it really is all about You. Help me to see people needing faith, and give mine away. Help me to see people in need, and be willing to give to help them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved