“Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.”Acts 19:8
As we read Acts 19 we see Paul teaching in Ephesus sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching them about the Holy Spirit. Now not everyone was receptive to what Paul had to say. Some rejected what he taught speaking out against Christianity.
Despite Paul’s passionate, thorough teaching not everyone believed, even after 3 months. It does not mean that Paul failed or could have done better. Rather not everyone will become believers when they hear the Gospel. It is not Paul’s job, nor ours to get everyone to believe.
The key lesson is to recognize that our true job in sharing the Gospel is to preach it authentically in word and action. We cannot control how or when people will receive Jesus as his/her Savior. God sends you and me out to simply tell our stories of faith to others. It is the Holy Spirit that works in the hearts of others to prepare them to receive it. This may occur instantaneously in our eyes or it may seem to take a long period of time.
What we do not always see all the aspects of God’s Plan of Salvation. We do not see what God has been doing in a person’s life prior to our sharing nor do we see what God continues to do afterwards. It is our responsibility to simply share our story as God provides the opportunity.
Paul teaches everyone this lesson in his first letter to the Corinthian believers:
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”1 Cor. 3:6
Paul was called by God to teach about Jesus & the Holy Spirit in Ephesus at this time. He was not held responsible by God to ensure that everyone became a believer. He shared and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work in the hearts of the individual.
In our lives we pray to God for the words to share and the courage to share it. Then we pray for the seeds of faith to grow in the Lord. At times we see the blooming of a flower that was first planted by another. Other times we are asked to plant the seed of faith so when another comes the flower will bloom.
In your faith journey this week look to the people God is leading you to nurture the seeds of faith so that they can bloom. Then pray for those God has for you plant the seeds of faith for future growth. Know the difference between these two. Ask God to open your eyes to recognize the moments as they present themselves to you.
In all ways cling to the joy of the Lord that you have in your life. Always remember you are a child of God dearly loved. God gives you the courage and words to share as God gave the same to Paul on each of his missionary journeys.
This Week’s Challenge
In your prayer journey list those individuals God has you to nurture the seeds of faith. In a second list write down those God wants you to plant the seeds of faith. Each day pray for these individuals so all the seeds of faith grow strong in the Lord.