As my men’s group goes through the book of Acts, I’ve been able to help our pastors and come alongside them to teach a few lessons. Every time I teach, I’m reminded how much discipline and work is required to put together a Bible study. Between that and playoff games, a lot of discipline and focus is needed right now.
I’m learning what it looks like to prioritize my faith, teaching others about the Gospel, my family, and my sport. I’m doing everything I can to spread the Gospel, but I’m also doing everything I can to do what it takes to be ready for the next big game. I don’t sacrifice one for the other, but try to do both equally and to the best of my ability. As I say “yes” to these three main things in my life, I have to say “no” to some of the peripheral things. It’s always a balancing act, but I need to do what I feel like God is telling me to put first.
Looking in depth at the book of Acts, it’s amazing what a grind the early Church had to go through. They were being persecuted, killed, arrested and tortured for this message they believed in. Though they had very little information, compared to what we have today, they were boldly proclaiming the message of Christ in a world that was straight-up hostile to it.
In the beginning of the book, before the early believers were even called “Christians,” we see the supernatural gifts — healing, speaking in tongues, prophesying and those types of gifts. But over and over in this book, Luke said the reason the Christian Church was growing and becoming so well-known wasn’t for these miracles, though those were powerful as well. The reason the Christ-followers gained so much attention was because of their great power and grace. Luke always referred to their unity and generosity as a people. This was radical.
When I think about what will prove to a watching world that the Holy Spirit is real, I don’t often go immediately to unity. We usually think about miracles and “wow” moments, don’t we? But Luke is saying that the thing people were looking for most — the thing that was most powerful and contagious — was coming from a life lived in generosity. The people in the Church were giving away all they had for each other’s needs, and they gained one mind, unified for the Kingdom of God. What a beautiful picture this is for the Church today! What if we, too, pursued the same unity and generosity, realizing that the way we can best proclaim Jesus to the world is by loving each other well?
The Gospel isn’t easy, but it is simple. We don’t have to have the supernatural gifts for others to see Jesus in us. True power and grace is found in the basic, mundane, obedient acts we are called by God to offer as gifts to Him.
“They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” — Acts 2:45-47
— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender
Ryan Hollingshead is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Ryan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/ryan-hollingshead/
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