Today’s reading is Acts 7:44-8:3.
Our children wrapped up the school year at Cornerstone Christian Academy the last week in May. Our oldest Deklin finished 3rd grade and his teacher gave them a sheet to complete with some reflection questions to wrap up the year. One of the questions the kids were asked was who their favorite person in the Bible was. Deklin said Stephen which I found interesting because he is not someone I can recall us talking about at home. Apparently, he is learning something at school even though most days when you ask what he learned today he says he doesn’t know! I’m sure many reading this can relate. He said the reason for choosing Stephen was his bravery to boldly proclaim the Gospel knowing he likely would be killed which he ultimately was.
As the saying goes I guess, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” While I don’t think I would have answered Stephen if asked the same question as Deklin in 3rd grade (not even knowing who Stephen was), at a young age I can remember reflecting on my faith and wondering if I was asked if I believed Jesus was the Son of God who gave His life for me and rose on Easter in facing a life or death situation based on my answer, would I boldly proclaim, “Yes?” The quick answer in my mind was absolutely I would, but deep down I knew it would not be easy. While there is no doubt Christians are persecuted in different ways in the US today and sadly even still killed in other countries, most of us thankfully will never have to face this life and death situation. What Stephen did was incredibly brave. By choice he was out proclaiming the Gospel voluntarily so people would know who Jesus was. And he did so to the same people who killed Jesus after seeing what they did to Him.
This should cause us to reflect on our boldness for the Gospel as well. Most people run for the hills at the mention of doing any sort of street ministry to share the Good News, even though physical danger is unlikely here in the US. While street ministry is great, our boldness for God doesn’t have to be even that extreme. It can come in a one on one conversation with a friend or acquaintance. Or, it can come in the little moments and decisions. When something bad happens to someone, do we give our sympathy and say we are “sorry and will be thinking about them?” Or do we say, “I will pray for you.” Better yet, do we have even more boldness and impact and ask, “Can I pray with you right now?” People have prayed for me right on the spot when going through some health challenges and let me tell you it is powerful. Do we ask if we can pray at a gathering of friends, or how about a work gathering? How about this simple one..it’s easier to pray with our children…but do we ask to pray with our spouse before going to sleep? Sadly, I’ve chickened out on that one and these others many times.
While I still believe if I faced possible death for professing my faith I would do so, Satan wins when I hold back in some of these “little” moments above and others. Today, I pray that we can learn from Stephen and not only profess our faith in big ways, but win the little battles in other ways to defeat the Devil and impact others for the glory of God and His Kingdom.
Will you join me in being a more bold witness to our faith and relationship with Jesus this week?