2021.05.05 Daily Devotional
The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, May 5, 2021 comes to us from Linda Chandra of Banten, Indonesia.
Acts 17:16-34 6 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and carful instruction.
My mother was not a Christian, and I never tried to force my faith on her when we talked. Then one day my mother said she wanted to go to church and know the Jesus that I know.
I have similar experiences with some of the sellers in the traditional market where I like to shop. I do not criticize those who have different beliefs. I praise those who are diligent in worship, and I do not hesitate to express my faith.
One day a seller in the market was curious about what makes me so joyful, so I told her about Jesus – the source of my joy. She did not immediately accept Jesus, but after several years she told me that she wanted to know Jesus and be joyful too.
This seller reminds me of Damaris and Dionysius from today’s reading, who believed Paul’s teaching about Jesus even though others did not. In today’s quoted scripture, Paul encourages Timothy to preach and to be prepared both in and out of season. We can learn from Paul to express our faith to others anywhere and at any time and leave the rest up to God.
Prayer Focus: Shop Owners
Prayer: Dear Lord, let our lives be to your glory. Help us to share the joy of your word with others. Amen.
Thought for the Day: I can share the love of Jesus at any time.
— Linda Chandra
I have found that telling stories is the best way to communicate messages from scripture and share my faith. It seems to me that people often don’t remember random conversations, but we often remember characters and situations from stories. We also remember the storyteller, so that we can return to her or him and hear even more about the situation and the lessons learned from it.
So telling stories about our faith journey is a very good way to witness to our faith in God through Christ.
I invite you to recall the stories of your journeys through faith and to share them whenever the opportunity arises.