Monday, July 11, 2016

Why We Should Proclaim God in our Everyday Living

23 After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe …
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:23-24, 30-31 NRSV)

At the end of Acts of the Apostles, Paul survives a shipwreck and arrives at Rome.  Here, Luke carefully details Paul’s reception by the Roman Jews and their willingness to hear Paul explain “this sect” (Acts 28:22) of Christianity. Paul meets with them and proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not all are convinced, and thus many reject the Gospel: “Some were convinced by what [Paul] had said, while others refused to believe” (24). Paul perseveres in his mission as an evangelist for Christ, however, making his living as a tentmaker for two years in Rome. Paul remains loyal to his mission in Christ, boldly and without hindrance. Since the sacred writer uses the words “without hindrance,” we can assume that Paul had to deal with much opposition and persecution throughout his time in Rome. But Paul does not give up. He suffers, and he does it exemplifying the love of God and neighbor.  
It is not an easy task to be an evangelist for the Gospel in our everyday living. Evangelism does not mean that we have to stand on the street handing out tracts, although that works for some.  We must evangelize with our lives, living out Christ’s commission to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves. Just the other day, for instance, my family and I were out eating at a diner. I thought to myself, Why don’t we say grace before eating this gift which comes from God? The short answer is because we fear what others may think. I thanked God in the quiet of my mind and commenced eating, failing to make a small witness to the love of God in public.
Our lives are full of moments when we can encourage others by our loving witness. Although my intentions are good, I readily fail, often praying later for the grace to become a better witness to Christ’s love. Paul lived out this witness. He fought, worked hard to support himself, and preached lovingly to those who listened. Paul was not perfect, however, as Romans 7:15 points out, and neither are we. God offers us the same grace he offered Paul. The boldness and lack of hindrance of Paul, and many saints like him, is something that takes time, prayer, listening to God’s word, and patience on our part. Let us all live to be Christ’s witnesses in the small corners of our lives.
May the peace and love of Christ be with you all.

Stan