Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FOUR
ORBIT – DAY SEVENTEEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we look together at a little bit of the Bible, and ask how we might be able to apply it to today. Please do tell your friends and family about these daily readings if you think they’d find them helpful.
BIBLE READING – Acts 20: 22-24
This is Paul speaking, getting ready to leave for Jerusalem.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
What kind of life are you hoping to live? It’s perhaps not a question we give much thought to, but it’s also one which we could easily answer. In a world where it’s possible to buy yourself increasing levels of comfort – a warm home, delicious food, mind-boggling amounts of entertainment – most of us just want to be happy. We tend to want nice things, a nice place to live, a nice person to share life with. We want to comfortable.
Paul lived in a very different time. Life expectancy was shorter, food was more basic, and you couldn’t waste an evening watching a boxset on Netflix. Yet it was still possible to live a comfortable life – in fact through employing servants and slaves you could end up having to do nothing for yourself. If he’d stayed on the path he was on when he was Saul, that’s probably the kind of life he could have hoped for. But something got in the way – his encounter with Jesus changed everything.
So in this passage, Paul reveals how little he cares for comfort. He has become completely absorbed in his mission, which he calls ‘the race’ (here and elsewhere). He is about to embark on the next stage of his adventure, a journey to the Bible’s most significant city, Jerusalem, and he has no idea what he’ll face there. Hardships and opposition are certain, prison is likely. He has many enemies there, and the only thing he can be absolutely sure of, is that this won’t be comfortable. For the most part, the previous couple of years have been fairly settled for Paul – now he’s walking headlong into chaos.
Why does Paul have so little regard for his own comfort? Because he knows, with absolute certainty, the answer to the question I posed a few moments ago. He knows exactly what kind of life he’s hoping to live – one which focusses one hundred percent on the task he received directly from Jesus himself: to share the Good News with anyone who will listen.
It’s hard for us to try to follow in Paul’s footsteps. He seems freakishly committed to his task – and he didn’t have Netflix or a smartphone to distract him. But there’s something about his focus that should inspire us. He knew that the purpose of the Christian life was to help others know God’s love for themselves, even when that comes at a personal cost. Even if we can’t set sail into a hostile territory, we can be inspired to be a little more brave, right where we are.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
I pray God that I would not be so comfortable that I would forget the needs of others. Inspire me to follow Paul’s example, and demonstrate your love through my words and actions to the people around me. Lead me to those who need practical help, and give me boldness to share your good news with the people I meet. 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.
Your challenge for today is to find a way to start a conversation about faith with someone. It could be a friend, a neighbour, a family member or a Deliveroo driver (although you’ll need to be quick!). Pray that God would give you an opportunity, and don’t be too heavy – just let someone know that your faith is important and helpful to you, and see where the conversation goes!
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!