“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV2)
James Watt, a Scottish lad, was just an ordinary person like anyone else. When invited, he joined his dad’s workshop, and it is there that he taught himself engineering skills and model building. This became his passion, but it was years before he was hired as an instrument maker at Glasgow University.
One day he had to repair an early steam machine. While working on it, he had an innovative idea of how to improve the machine, and the rest is history. His improvements led to steam powered trains. In addition, Watt’s legacy also included the word ‘horsepower’ and the unit of power named after him, the Watt. He was a real genius in his field.
If he had remained at home, however, and refused to work with his dad in his workshop, none of his upcoming inventions would ever had occurred. Complacency would have been his biggest enemy.
Interestingly enough, the early Christians remained in Jerusalem, never thinking to go outside the limits of their city. Despite the fact that Jesus urged all of His disciples to share the good news, “In all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth…” Christianity may have remained solely in Jerusalem if persecution had never occurred in that city, for after Stephen’s stoning this all changed: “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” (Acts 8:1, NIV2). Persecution is what drove Christians to spread the Good News to other regions outside of Jerusalem. Jesus’ admonition became fulfilled, as a result of persecution.
Too often we, too, become complacent when everything seems to be going our way.
“Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” (Acts 8:2-3, NIV2) In the meantime, Saul became a fury against the Christians. Although the stoning of Stephen had an impact on him, it drove his zeal to destroy what he considered to be a sect. No pity, no mercy! The Christians had to be completely eliminated.
It was a time of wailing, but it was also a time of total rejoicing: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4, NIV2)
It sure is comfortable to sit in front of a television set, with a nice fire in the hearth warming our hearts, minds and souls during winter days; however, is it possible that we are missing our vocation? Imagine the world if the steam machine had never been invented and the “watt” was a completely unknown word. Would we even have known about television? More importantly, if we do not do our part, how many will never even hear about the Good News that Jesus brought to us?
Complacency is truly deadly.
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)