There is a story about the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts where he ends up in jail because he heals a slave women and her owner decides that she was more valuable the way she used to be.
The curious thing about the story is that Paul doesn’t flip out about being arrested, and when an apparent opportunity arises to get out of jail (an earth quake partially destroys the prison) he doesn’t take it–instead he stays in the cell!
So why does he do this?
I think there are two reason why Paul decides to stay in the jail, rather than make a run for it.
First I think Paul doesn’t flip out when he is arrested because his plans aren’t the most important think in his world. Paul had a healthy view of his importance.
While Paul was an important leader in the church, he didn’t think that he was so important that he could afford to take any detours. He doesn’t say to the civil authorities: “I’m Paul. I don’t have time for this stuff.”
Sure he probably wasn’t happy about the hassle and especially the beating they gave him,but he didn’t turn into a prima dona. Instead, he takes the time he has to pray and sing, and focus his attention of God. Paul’s attitude is so different from our attitudes most of the time. Just think of the last time you were late driving somewhere and got stuck in traffic.
Instead of freaking out Paul figures out what good things he could do right there, rather than complaining about his apparent detour.
Connected to this, is the fact that unlike many of us, Paul isn’t willing to skip necessary steps to get back to his plans. He understands that if you have the choice between the two, its better to do something right than to it fast.
Its so easy to get so focused on our goals that we think we are justified in skipping or fudging the process. We all think that we have some circumstances that justifies our rush. Paul could have walked out of the prison, but instead he waits, because he knows in the long term it will be important for him to clear up the charges against him. At the end of the story that is exactly what he does, the authorizes realize they were wrong and give them their freedom. Instead of Paul taking his freedom he waits for them to give him his freedom.
I’m not saying that its wrong to be driven, but what it comes down to is that Paul possessed a skill that most of us don’t–patience. Slow down, do things right and you might end up with opportunities you never expected.
Yup Augustine is bipedal. He had been doing the one-two-drop for a week or so but tonight he starting walking.
Tags: Christianity, Contextualization, Culture, Messy Christianity, Pittsburgh
I need to confess something: I sometimes listen in on other peoples conversations. I know its wrong, but I’m just curious when I hear certain private conversations taking place in public.
Right now I’m listen to two people speaking about faith and Christianity at a coffee shop in Pittsburgh. It is a guy who knows everything about Christianity and walked away talking with a woman who sounds like she is defending her faith to this guy.
Right now this young woman seems to be doing a really nice job defending her faith, against this guys straw-man-objections to legalistic Christianity.
3 Reasons why I’m encouraged in overhearing this conversation:
- God is already doing stuff is Lawrenceville.
- There are countless other Christians out there struggling and fighting for their faith.
- Nothing this guy is saying new (It’s the same stuff that Christians have wrestled against since Jesus ascended).
“Thus for Paul, believers are thoroughly eschatological people, determined and conditioned by the reality of the future that has already begun, but still awaiting the final glory.”
The First Epistle to the Corinthians
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This is a bit late, but here are some pictures of our thanksgiving with the Horners in Indy. You’ll notice that we opened presents.