One of the things I sometimes do as I read about the lives and ministry of the earliest followers of Jesus, is to watch what they did, and see if I would like to imitate or emulate them in my life. Case in point: when Paul is asked to defend his faith, and he told this story:
“While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.
“A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’ Acts 22:6-21
Paul had a remarkable story of how God transformed him from Christ-hater to dedicated disciple by literally blinding him along the way. Long ago, I came to the realization that my pathway to following Jesus in my life did not include such a dramatic conversion. But while I don’t share that experience with Paul, I can take a page from his book as a spokesperson for God by boldly telling my own story.
My story includes being raised in a family where I was often taught that God loved me. (My family still reinforces that message.) My story includes hearing from the people around me that I need to love God in return for the love that God freely shares. (Much of my life path has been a quest to share that love with the world.) My story includes always knowing that God’s love is constant, and that it gives life its worth and purpose. And when there are people who don’t know about the love of God, I need to find a way to freely and loudly tell what I have learned about God’s love from my life, so that they might come to know God’s love in their life.
I guess I could learn that the story of God in each of our lives is a part of the love story that God is anxious to write with all of us. Maybe my sharing of what I know about God would help someone else see God as active in their life.
God, give me the courage to tell my story in the right places and the right way so that You are praised and known today and tomorrow, as I follow my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.