Wednesday, October 7, 2009
None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.
Stephen was a young man with a lot of promise. Chosen to be a deacon in the church, he soon was preaching the gospel, and people were coming to faith. That is what got him into trouble when he was brought before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was like Israel's Supreme Court in the first century and could decide whether a person lived or died. If Stephen had been a bit more diplomatic, he might have made it home for dinner that night. But he saw an opportunity—an opportunity to preach the gospel.
It is my belief that Stephen may have even directed some of his remarks to one of them who was known as Saul of Tarsus. But we know the rest of the story: they screamed and ran at Stephen and stoned him to death, making him the first martyr of the Christian church. Stephen's life was short, but he played a key role in the conversion of Saul, whom we know as Paul.
When a young life is cut short, when a life hasn't reached its full potential, we tend to think of how tragic it is, because we all assume we will live long lives. But who is to say how long you or I will live? We don't have any control over two dates in our lives: the date of our birth and the date of our death. There is a little dash in between those dates that we have a lot to say about. But the rest of it, well, that is up to God.
You may live much longer, or you may not. Only God knows. You don't decide when your life starts or ends, but you decide what to do with that little dash in the middle. What are you doing with yours?
Copyright © 2009 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
- This life will have its sorrows
- God loves us
- Jesus weeps in our times of pain
- God can be glorified through human suffering
Hope for Hurting Hearts, Pastor Greg Laurie's new book, examines these truths, revealing God's love and care for us, and shows how we can find hope, even in the midst of the most unbearable pain and sorrow.