Today’s Reading | Acts 7-8:3
Someone is Watching
Why did Saul step up his persecution of the church? Could it be that the images of Stephen’s stoning were burned into his memory, and they haunted him? Think about it. He stood and listened to what Stephen said to the crowd. He watched the crowd’s reaction and saw them drag Stephen away and stone him. Then, to his amazement, Stephen prayed in the midst of being executed, and asked God to forgive them, not to hold that sin against them. That sight must have troubled him immensely. His mind must have replayed it over and over. To see such courage and love in Stephen’s behavior must have overwhelmed Saul. Stephen could not have had any idea the impact his life and death would have on all of history. His commitment to Christ was used, not only to impact the Apostle Paul, but to scatter the church all over the world, and thereby spread the message of the Gospel. What impact is your life having on those who observe or cause your suffering? Does your response to your circumstances point them to Christ? Could God want to use your present circumstances to impact your world as Stephen impacted his?
Can you think of someone whose life affected yours as you observed him/her walking through difficult times? How did it affect you?
What was it about his/her response that impressed you?
How can your response to your present circumstances influence those around you?
How can you prepare yourself to respond to difficulty in a way that positively affects those around you?