“As you’ll remember,” Stan commented one morning, “we have talked a little bit recently about the story of Paul and Silas being in a prison.”
“I do remember,” I said. “Two different points. One about giving praise in difficult circumstances, and the other about being alert to who’s listening to what we say about our circumstances.” [Note to reader: See the postings for January 16, 2022 (“Some Cheese might go nicely with that Whine”) and January 18, 2022 (“Who’s Listening?”)].
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “Good remembering!”
Continuing, he added, “There’s one more thing I want to mention about this account of Paul and Silas that has an impact on my faith walk.”
“Fire away,” I responded. “Tell me what you have.”
“While Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and while the other prisoners were listening to them,” Stan said, “there was an earthquake that caused the prison doors to open and the chains to fall off of the prisoners.”
“Wow!” I said, “What a happy coincidence.”
“I don’t think coincidence had anything to do with it,” Stan replied. “I think God was making a point.”
“The point about who’s watching what we do in our relationship with God.”
“How so?” I asked.
“When the earthquake occurred,” Stan replied, “the jailer was concerned that the prisoners would have escaped and he would be in big trouble with his boss. He was so concerned that he was about to take his own life.”
“He was going to kill himself?”
“That’s what it says,” Stan said, “but God intervened by letting the jailer know that the prisoners had not gone anywhere. When the jailer then brought the prisoners out, it says that he was so impressed that they had not escaped that he asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved.”
“All because the jailer had seen what Paul and Silas had done or not done?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And I see this as something for me to keep in mind. The world is watching what I do and don’t do in my relationship with God. And it may just make a difference in lives and eternal destinations.”
“By making them want to know what they must do to be saved like you are saved,” I commented. “Is that it?”
“You go it, my friend,” Stan replied. “That they will ask me, ask you, and ask everyone who demonstrates their faith by what they do and by what they don’t do.”
Bible verses to consider:
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all of the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened. And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after bringing them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts of the Apostles 16:25-30.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to be intentional about my faith in you. Thank you that you bring people into my life who want to see you in and through me. Please forgive all of the times I have failed to manifest you and have failed to demonstrate to the watching world the reality of you. I need and I ask for your help in always being aware that what I do and what I say in manifesting your presence can have an eternal impact on those who are watching. Please, Father, move in me so that others will be drawn to you and will ask what they need to do to be saved. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: When people see what you do and what you don’t do in this life, do they see someone who is acting based on their faith in God? If no, is that because you have not accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life with Him eternally when your time here is done? Or is it because you are not intentional about demonstrating your faith? If you sense changes may be appropriate based on your answer, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?