Monday, April 21, 2008
Imagine you were given millions of dollars and told you could share it with any person, group, or organization you wanted. It would be wonderful to see the faces of the ones who received a check from you—completely unexpected, but deeply needed and appreciated. Since the money wasn’t yours in the first place, you could simply be generous and change people’s lives. Paul and Barnabas had been given something so much greater than money. They had been filled with the Holy Spirit and were given God’s life to share with others. They saw lives transformed, and they knew that the change didn’t come from their own resources. They were simply being generous with all that God had given them.
Though Paul and Barnabas were intelligent and devoted men, they knew that it was God who was teaching and inspiring the people, not them. They prayed for God’s wisdom, shared that wisdom, and then stepped aside to see what God would do. The more they opened their hearts to Jesus and his love, the more he filled them—and the more his love overflowed to others. As they introduced people to Jesus, diseases were cured, demons were cast out, and human dignity was restored. Clearly, the greatest gift they could offer was a relationship with Jesus, and he responded by wrapping his loving arms around them all.
Jesus longs to give us his grace, love, and mercy. Every day we can come to him and receive. So let’s ask him to fill us again and again. God loves it when we come to him ready to receive more. We can turn to him all through the day, because his grace is never-ending. His Spirit is always with us, empowering us to proclaim God’s faithfulness to everyone around us. He is always with us, giving us the wisdom and compassion we need to deepen our love for one another, to forgive when we have been hurt, and to reach out to the needy in our midst. Like Paul and Barnabas, we too can have tremendous confidence in God’s power to work in us and through us.
“Jesus, I praise you for your overflowing love. I am so grateful that you never stop showering your mercy and strength on me. Right now, I want to open my heart to receive all that you want to give me. I love you, Jesus.”
Psalm 115:1-4,15-16; John 14:21-26