Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Never Lets Go -- Acts 14

I am not sure how many times I have read Acts 14, and in how many different translations or settings. This morning as I read it from the NLT, I found myself captured by verses 16-17. Let me refresh your memory, Paul and Barnabas have been preaching and teaching in several places throughout what might be called Asia Minor. While in Lystra the people think they are the gods come to them. Preparations are made for a great sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. As Paul is explaining why they should not do this these two verses, 16 and 17 show up;
"In earlier days he [God], permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left himself without a witness. There were always reminders, such as sending you rain and good crops and giving you food and joyful hearts."
While it may appear that God is absent from a situation or setting, this is plain just not true. God will not all there to be a void of witness. God never lets go of the people that have been created by the hand of God. One of the great questions that arises regarding the exclusive nature of Jesus as the way of salvation is, "What about the people and tribes in places where the Gospel has never been preached?" God will not go without a witness.

It is an amazing level of pride to think God will allow those who have been created to go without a witness to the greatness of God offered to us all through grace. This does not mean we should not go out and proclaim the Good News of Jesus both with words and actions. What it means is we must not assume we are taking God to a godless place. Wherever there are people, God is there and at work providing witness to the greatness of God. It seems once again God is so much bigger than our human brains can make room for.

Go never lets go. Whether it is a person in the United States who writes God off, or the person in the jungles who has never heard the word preached, God is giving witness. The ways God provides witness is so much greater than we can imagine. However, remember it is Paul who utters the above verses. Paul the great missionary of the church, who went to place where the witness might not have been verbal yet. Knowing God will not go without a witness does not give us an excuse to sit back in our comfy love. We must go where we are sent by God.

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