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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Today’s Reading | Acts 26:29 

Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (NRSV)

The story in Acts 26 is the story of Paul defending himself in what sounds to me like a mini-trial. King Agrippa of the Jews and his sister Bernice have come to hear Paul’s case. The question is whether Paul has done anything against Jewish law.

I’m struck by Paul’s honesty as he tells his story. He tells what he was like before he became aware of Jesus. He tells the details of what happened when his heart was changed. And he tells what he has learned about Jesus. At one point in Paul’s testimony, Festus, an official in the court, shouts to Paul, “You’ve lost your mind, Paul.”

Unfortunately I often find myself completely intimidated about telling my story of God finding me and changing my heart, especially when I’m outside of the church community. If I were to follow Paul’s model, I’d simply tell the story as it happened and forget about the fear that someone might think I’ve lost my mind. I’d tell the story and let the rest be up to God. And I’d have Paul’s sensibility about the effects of my story. “Whether it is a short time or a long time, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today will become like me.”

In other words, all I have to do is tell my story and pray that God will use it in the life of another—without worrying about being called a fool and without worrying about how long it might take for my story to make a difference.

Dear God, help me to speak honestly and simply about how you have changed my life. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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