Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 5, 2017

a bad news/Good News story

Two weeks ago, at this very moment, I was anticipating an assignment that was to be mine over the next week and a half.  In looking back at that adventuresome journey, I can honestly say my best laid plans were completely interrupted and changed. Life can be that way.

It started with a simple cold that landed in my throat. Having no voice is aggravation enough, but having to give a speech to over one hundred people on an important topic was worse. After having travelled to give the speech, and using every over the counter remedy available (plus apple cider vinegar), I made it through the lecture and was off to rest, then to another work location. Monday and Tuesday of last week were also important (as I needed to see several people), but by then the cold had travelled to my EYE. As I spoke to people, they would have been wise to close their eyes. My eye was ugly!  By Tuesday, I gave up and visited a minute clinic and was treated for bacterial pink eye. It was all in a week’s work, and then I came home … and everything cleared up. What an assignment!

My illustration is trivial compared to the real purpose and life assignments that we are given. My reading in Acts this morning brought that home in a powerful way. The Apostle Paul knew his life assignment and lived up to it, even with difficulties that make me feel ashamed for pouting about mine. Notice the words of Acts 20:22-24.

And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering (lay) ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Paul wanted to finish the work assigned to him by the Lord Jesus. What was that work? As noted above, it was—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. There was no question in his mind about what God had called him to do, and Paul wanted to complete his assignment. His journey would lead to great difficulty; jail and suffering would be his lot, as the Holy Spirit had informed him. I wonder what most of us would do if the thought of jail and suffering were part of the equation for following Christ.

Most of us work hard, serve Christ and, in some way, look for recognition and success from our efforts. For Paul, what he put into life (finishing his assignment) far overshadowed the personal recognition and benefits. Most of us (if any) will ever suffer in serving our Lord as Paul did, but isn’t it also the assignment for all Christ-followers to be witnesses to the grace of God and the life changing power of His Gospel?

I am concerned for you and for me that in the course of daily living we lose the intentionality of telling others the Good news about the wonderful grace of God.  In the early years of my faith journey, I was taught well to share my faith, but it seems that the emphasis of living well in front of others has caused the Christian world to be less forthright about our faith and what Christ has done in our lives. If you haven’t shared your faith with someone in a while, I think you know what I mean. We don’t have to stand on street corners or go door to door, but there is ample opportunity before us each week to share the Good News.

My interrupted assignment was minor. Paul’s assignment was a mission, and I believe every Christ-follower has a part to play in that mission by sharing the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

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