Saturday, October 26, 2013
Quickly or Not
Acts 26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?”
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.”
Every opportunity in life was used by Paul to share what he had learned about his Savior, Jesus Christ! Here he was before Agrippa arguing his case and Paul became impassioned with the story of Jesus’ work in his own personal life. King Agrippa is obviously moved by Paul’s testimony but is only willing to listen to a certain extent. He stops Paul and asks him rather incredulously, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” Obviously Paul was or he would not have asked the question.
Paul expresses the heart of the Lord when he says “quickly or not.” In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
How long have you been praying for a loved one to come to Christ? We are called to never give up because “quickly or not” — what we desire is for that person to come to know the Lord in a very personal way.
I’ve been teaching some classes this week at a Christian institution and I find the conversations with students quite fascinating. We are living in a day and age when many young people who have been born in Christian homes don’t see that there is a need to “enter” into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Even among those raised within Christianity many young people have become a type of universalist; believing that everyone will eventually be saved and therefore the need for repentance or salvation is no longer important to them. Also, as a result, there is no passion for the lost. Why would there be — if there is no sense that others are lost?
But is this truly what we learn from the word of God? Paul had a burning passion for everyone that he met. He was praying for them and trying to help them come to know Christ in a personal way. This passion burned within him to the point that “quickly or not” he would continue to encourage people to become followers of Christ.
In the 4th century a young lady named Nonna found herself in an arranged marriage. She was a Christian but her husband was not. The passion within her for Christ led her to a prayer life in which “quickly or not” she asked God to draw her husband toward him. Finally after many years of patient prayer and a by living a life of faith before him, her husband gave his life to the Lord and went on to become a great spiritual leader himself. She is referred to as “the drip that hollowed out the stone.” Her prayers, patient, and his response, not quickly — meant that she prayed and prayed and prayed until finally he gave his life to Christ. This was the passion of her heart — that he would come to know the Lord.
My prayer today is that we will again have a burden for the lost — one which will drive us to our knees and to seeking out every opportunity which may arise in which we can present the Gospel. And while we live in a world that expects fast results — may we have the patience that “quickly or not” we will help lead people to Christ.
Lord, please use me today in your kingdom’s work.