December 8, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Burden”

Acts 21:11-14

And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

A few weeks ago, an American Christian missionary John Allen Chau was brutally killed by islanders off the coast of India. The story captured the hearts of many Americans and news channels on what seemed like a suicide mission. The islanders, unreached by any civilization for over 50,000 years, were well known for their hostility toward outsiders; and so, some have accused Chau of “cultural imperialism and insane arrogance” while others have heralded his attempts. Sadly, I too found myself in some ways questioning his wisdom and tact.  However, after reading about his last few journal entries and his motivations as to why he went, I was both humbled and convicted. It was clear that Chau had a burden for these unreached people—a burden that gave him the boldness to risk his life to share the gospel with them.

And this is what we see in our passage today. Though Paul knew and heard from others the persecution awaiting him, he refused to be swayed. He was determined to go and reach the people in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord. By no means is this a call for us to go and risk our lives, although a few of us may actually be called to do so. It is a reminder that all of us have been called to reach the lost. Even thinking about this can be daunting, especially if it means reaching out to people who are close to us. Sometimes our courage to reach out can get lost in our own methods and excuses. But before we ask for such boldness, may we pray that God would start with giving us a burden for them. It is a burden rooted in the desire for people to know the love of Christ as we have experienced. And may this love give us the same boldness to overcome our own fears and doubts.

Spend a few moments praying that God would give us a burden for those who have yet to know Him.

Prayer: Father, Your burden for us sinners was so great that You sent Your one and only Son to die for us. Jesus, Your love is too great for us not to share. Birth in us a desire to reach the lost, and may we have the boldness to go. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 8-9

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