Daily Devotional – Tuesday October 3 2006
Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.
Yes, dear reader this week we continue our travels with Paul. No less than 7 different destinations are mentioned in this travel log. He traveled more than I do. How can I even be glib about comparing Paul to me in any way? The results of his travels so far exceed the accomplishments of myself or any other person I know or have read about makes comparison impossible. This passage is similar to many others as it describes his travels and his ability to stay one step ahead of trouble. In this story, Paul is warned not to go to Jerusalem. The warning comes from a prophesy. In fact, Paul and the other believers believed that the Holy Spirit spoke through these prophesies. I am reminded again of the difference between knowing something and believing it.
This passage speaks to a subject of great difficulty for me and others I expect – martyrdom. Paul knew that if he went to Jerusalem that he would be taken and probably killed. Paul was prepared to commit the greatest act of generosity that we can make; to give his life in the name of Jesus Christ. Father Rob’s sermon this morning is still ringing in my head as I write this for Tuesday. While the focus today was greed, it came to me as a challenge of my generosity. While I am challenged by the extent to which I share my worldly goods, here is Paul who had nothing in terms of what I have, prepared to give away the only thing he had – himself. This act of generosity makes the decision of how much I should increase my weekly pledge seem completely insignificant. Paul has set the bar rather high when it comes to setting the standard of giving.
In my former church in Montreal, a group of us presented a dramatic play in our church called Murder in the Cathedral about the martyrdom of Thomas a Becket. I played the part of Thomas. Learning this part was a turning point in my Christian development. God deals with us in different and often strange ways. Thomas (like Paul before him) “knew” that if he continued to challenge King Henry that he would be killed. However, he “believed” that he was acting in the name of Jesus Christ and this overcame his fear and anger. This experience also introduced to me for the first time the fact that “good actions bring good feelings” and not the other way around.
John Dickie, October 3, 2006