DAY 24 - DECEMBER 19TH, 2018

Called to Serve

James Williams

And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me.
— Acts 26:6-7

This verse, consisting of words spoken by Paul and recorded by Luke, is best understood by those  familiar with the context: Jewish leaders were upset with Paul for sharing the gospel and wanted him to be prosecuted. These leaders sought assistance from King Agrippa, a non-Jewish agent of the Roman Empire. 

Paul’s defense to Agrippa was this: The Jewish community was very aware that Paul’s entire life has been dedicated to the same God the Jews worship. With them all Paul shared a hope in the fulfillment of the promise mentioned in verse 6, the promise that one day God would send a Savior.

In this disagreement Paul took the high road. Rather than criticize the Jewish leaders for a lack of belief in Christ, Paul tied himself to them via a common thread: They were all awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. The Jews were waiting for the first coming, Paul for the second one. But the longing that both had was fueling the desire to serve God during the wait. Paul applauds the Jews’ willingness to “earnestly serve God night and day.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we long for the fulfillment of His promise. By lauding the Jewish leaders for earnestly, tirelessly serving, Paul laid the groundwork for acceptance by those Jewish people who would eventually come to a belief in Jesus. The example that is set for us is unmistakable: We are not called to win arguments. We are called to do God’s work, which is to minister to those in our sphere of influence who do not yet believe. 

Question to Consider:

Do you find it easy to get caught up in trying to out-argue those who do not believe as you do? In what ways has God called you to serve? 

AdventJocie Morganadvent, 2018