Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FOUR
ORBIT – DAY NINETEEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional thought, prayer and challenge from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. We hope you’re finding these helpful. At the moment we’re looking at the story of Saul who became Paul – a man who knew what it was to live for and represent Jesus in chaotic and changing times.
BIBLE READING: Acts 23: 16-19
Today’s reading is a short chunk out of a longer passage – which you should read – focussing on one significant moment in that story. Paul is now imprisoned under Roman guard in Jerusalem, and there’s a plot to kill him. The reading begins as rumours about this plot reach Paul’s family…
But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” So he took him to the commander. The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”
It’s easy to grow up with the belief that our youth is just a training ground for adulthood, and this is especially true in the church. From a young age we come out of the main church meeting to be sent to a more age-appropriate activity; as teenagers we have our own groups and in some cases our own congregations. Meanwhile most of the activities that seem to be important are run by adults, and mainly feature the faces of adults. None of this is wrong, but it does help to reinforce the belief that there is a moment in our lives before which we’re not really playing a full part in God’s kingdom.
The Bible addresses this idea quite often. Later on when he’s writing letters, Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he’s young; and the prophet Joel looks to young people as the visionaries who will lead the people into the future. And here in this story, we see a practical example of a young man taking his place in God’s story, before he’s old enough to drive a plough.
It’s this boy – and we know he’s only a boy because of the way the commander takes him by the hand to draw him aside – is the one who catches wind of the plot to kill Paul, and it’s him who braves a journey into the Roman barracks to tell his uncle. He’s brave enough to face a centurion, and then a commander with his story. And his courage means that Paul is saved, and as a result of that, literally billions of people are later influenced throughout history by the letters his uncle goes on to write.
So, what does this mean for us today? Well, if we’re young, it should be an encouragement that God can use us now – that we’re not just the church of the future, but the church of today. And if we’re not quite so young, then it’s a reminder not to hold back or disregard the younger members of our communities simply because of their age. God can use any person who has a heart to follow him – old or young – and it’s everyone else’s job to encourage them along the way.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I pray that you would use me in your kingdom – to make the wrong things of the world right; to share your love with the people around me; to tell them about who you are and how much you love them. Help me to encourage other people as they try to do the same, and help me never to disregard someone else because they’re too young, or old. Amen.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today is all about encouragement. Think of someone else within the church family who you could encourage – either with a simple message, or even with something practical. Let them know that you think they’re awesome, and that you’re glad you get to be part of this church family with them. That’s it – you never know how much a little bit of kindness and encouragement can lift and change someone else’s day.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!