Holy Asides
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February 24, 2015, 12:00 PM

Go and Do- a Reflection on the Book of Acts


Go and Do. 

 

Our Bible Reading Plan has had us reading the book of Acts this month. This book could be summarized by two short words: go and do. The Apostles are called to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. They are called to go to the Gentiles. They are called to go where there is strife and difficulty. They are called to go to public places and to go into private homes. They are called to do the work of the Holy Spirit. They do meet and live in community. They do perform healings. They do proclaim the Kingdom of God. In fact, all that takes place in the Acts of the Apostles could be used as a helpful guide for us today in the ways the we are invited to go and do.

 

Go. I believe that we are called to go to our neighbors, to our community and to the world. We see the apostles go to one another’s homes to meet and to break bread and to pray. They gather with one another in community and encouragement and care. They go to the Temple to proclaim the new Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ to the Jewish community. They go and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah to the crowds and to the religious authorities. Finally, they go to the world, to the Gentiles, to wherever it is that God is leading them—indeed to the very ends of the earth. They go to where people have never heard the message of salvation and proclaim it with boldness. This is our invitation to go—to go to our own friends and family, to go to those who have some semblance of knowledge of the faith, and to go to those who have none whatsoever. The option that is not available is to stay put, and wait for people to come to us. We must go!

 

Do. There are a lot of actions/acts in this book, but let’s narrow it down into broad categories for ourselves:

 

Be obedient to God’s call.

Take risks.

Anticipate “failure.”

Expect opposition.

 

These four aspects of doing are rampant throughout this book. The apostles are obedient to God’s call. Again and again they respond in faith. Philip speaks to the Ethiopian Eunuch; Peter heads to the house of Cornelius; Barnabas and Paul sail off as missionaries. It may or may not be redundant to state taking a risk as the next category. Some would always categorize being obedient to God as taking a risk, for it means giving up control. However, there are extra risks that are being taken here—stepping out into the complete unknown and risking their own health and safety to name just a couple. The third aspect is that doing does not signify success. Paul gave an amazing sermon in Athens, but it had very little impact. This signifies why being obedient to God’s call takes precedence over every other aspect. Sometimes being obedient is what we are called to do, which leads to the final aspect of expecting opposition. Just because we are obedient to God does not mean everything will be joyous. The apostles were persecuted, chased down, imprisoned, tortured, stoned, and killed. This abuse happened from those both inside and outside the community. As we seek to serve Christ, these aspects are vital for us to keep in mind. Above all else, be obedient to God’s call, be willing to take risks, understand that we might fail, and that we almost always will face critics and opposition when we are obedient to God. As Jesus said, “The world will hate you, because it hated me first.”

 

One final caution about “doing.” Do not confuse doing, with harvest. At the end of a couple chapters, almost as an afterthought, is “and they stayed there for two years.” Many ministries and visions take time. “Doing” is cultivating the soil; it’s sowing seed; it’s watering and weeding; and finally it’s harvesting. As we go and do—let’s keep that in mind. Remember that when we answer God’s voice—that is the doing that is most important.

 


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