But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. -Acts 26:16-18
…then to the Gentiles that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting of repentance. -Acts 26:8
The Lord speaks to Paul on the road to Damascus sending him out into a lifetime ministry of hope. He is calling him out to bring light into the darkness to share the good news of Jesus, of repentance, of forgiveness, of faith and of sanctification. We are called, just as Paul was, to bring the hope that we have in Jesus’ name to all of those around us, to share His words with everyone Jew and Gentile, alike. How will they ever know if they do not hear? Think of people in this world who are willing to come to Jesus, their hearts are soft and they are searching, but there is power in His name and if they never hear the name of Jesus how will they be saved? How will they ever learn the gifts and the blessings of repentance and forgiveness without ever being told? If they are never reached, they will always be lost. Paul boldly accepted his calling and was obedient to this heavenly vision (v.19). He did not look at the greatness of man, he witnessed both to the small and great (v.22), and he only spoke truth to them. He stood on sound doctrine and did not stray, meaning even the hard truth of hardened hearts, disobedience and unrepentant hearts was addressed. He spoke boldly to kings and to citizens of the streets and he received all who came to him. Just as Jesus so many times had compassion on the multitudes suffering them to come unto Him, never forbidding their interruption.
Do we have compassion on the multitudes? I know for myself, if I am seeking quiet time and escape from all the noise of everyday life and someone comes in to me with a question my first reaction is a carnal one. It takes everything in me and then some to muster up the patience and compassion to hear these people out. I pray every time that God would grant me more patience, understanding, love and compassion on interruptions, and that, furthermore I wouldn’t look on them as interruptions, but as the brothers and sisters that they are, as the multitudes seeking truth, and love, that I would be happy to put down my book, to put aside my writing and even to pause my prayers to receive these loved ones.
We are called to a ministry of relationship. It’s one thing to shout from the rooftops, the street corners and the pulpits about Jesus’ love; it’s another thing to enter into a friendship offering a person your love and relationship empowered by the unconditional love of Christ, and through that acceptance and love showing them what a friend you have in Jesus, showing them that your relationship with God is what moves you to love others. This is not to say that large scale preaching is bad, or wrong but there needs to be relationship, love, fellowship among the brethren as well. Paul showed love in his ministry, through his letters, his travels and his time spent and committed to people. He preached the things of Jesus with all confidence, he was bold, he was loving, he was prayerful.
Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent for the Gentiles, and they will hear it! -Acts 28:28
Let it be our prayer to follow the calling of our Lord Jesus to bring witness of this hope to every tribe, every tongue, every nation!