Friday, August 4, 2017

Acts 23:12-22

Acts 23:12-22
English Standard Version (ESV)

  I've always found this passage fascinating.  Here are the Jews, afraid of what Paul is teaching, and so they dedicate themselves to his termination.  They refuse to eat or drink until they had killed him (I can't help but wonder what happened after their plot failed.  Did they go back to eating and drinking?  Did they starve or whither away?  I need answers!!).  They were obsessed with eliminating this thorn in their sides, to the distraction of everything else.
  What would have happened if they had dedicated that energy to good?  What if they had focused on loving others and serving the people with all that pent up hatred?  What if they had re-dedicated themselves to engaging in intellectual debates rather than shrinking back in fear?
  We all spend too much energy on wasted things.  We obsess over people we despise.  We plot out the demise of our enemies.  We worry about things beyond our control.  Our mental wheels spin and spin and spin, and we exhaust ourselves thinking about all these things.
  What if we were so focused on loving God and serving our neighbors that we didn't have room left for these things?  What if, whenever our minds drifted towards negative thoughts towards our enemies, we re-directed these towards productive goals, useful goals, thoughts that brought glory to God?  How much more useful to the world could we be?

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