"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." (Romans 12:1, MSG)

Monday, September 15, 2014

#LukeActs2014 - Acts chapter 13

Last week, I wrote about the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the disciples, as told in chapters 11 and 12. This week, there is an obvious continuation of that theme in chapter 13, with even more evidence that the disciples weren't working alone:
  • ...the Holy Spirit said, "Appoint Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them to undertake." (v. 2)
  • After the Holy Spirit sent them on their way... (v. 4)
  • Empowered by the Holy Spirit... (v. 9)
And my favorite:
  • Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the disciples were overflowing with happiness. (v. 52) 
As I reflected on this chapter, one thing that became all the more clear to me was that the disciples were accountable to the Holy Spirit, as well as to their community, for carrying out the work set before them.

Maybe it is because the regular season of the National Football League is now well underway, but this thought brought to mind a mantra that I often made reference to during my days in financial services. If I remember correctly, it was something I heard that Tiki Barber once said to his fellow offensive players on the New York Giants before a game.
"None of us are entitled...we are all accountable."
To me, one of things I find most striking, and beautiful, about these stories of the first disciples is their singleness of Spirit. They were wholly committed to, and accountable for, their task of spreading the Gospel...and there was no sense of entitlement among them. And why would there have been? After all, the message they repeated time and again essentially said to their hearers: "Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn't be put in right relationship with God through Moses' Law, through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God." (v. 38-39)

Indeed, the saving grace of Jesus Christ is available to "everyone who believes" but that doesn't mean we are entitled to it. We are all accountable for changing our hearts and lives.

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