Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Calling Trumps Winning

Sacrifice isn't the goal, but don't run away from it either.

Acts 22:17-22 (ESV)

“When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”

Paul’s testimony has the audience spellbound. Everything’s going great right up until he quotes the Lord as saying to him, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.

Up to this word they listened to him. After that they just wanted to kill him, saying, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.

Paul seemed to be on the brink of converting the whole crowd but then he slipped up and ruined it all. Or did he?

This looks intentional. This passage is all about the Jews’ rejection of Paul. He quotes the Lord as saying that He’s sending him away from Jerusalem, “because they will not accept your testimony about me.” So, when they raised their voices and started threatening him it perfectly illustrated what he was saying.

Paul could have said, “You make my point.”


Paul is in the middle of making a tremendous sacrifice. American prisons are country clubs compared to Roman prisons.

But Paul is a messenger and all he cares about is getting out the message. Even being in prison will work out well in that scheme of things, as he’ll get heavily into writing.

We’re messengers too. Sacrifice is not far from our calling either.

But everyone’s calling is individual. Sacrifice isn’t the point; it’s just something we must not shrink from.

It’s good to spend some time reassessing. Do you know your calling long term? How about short term? Even if God has blessed you with clarity of purpose (and, boy, what a blessing that is) some serious checking in is always wise. Ask the Lord for direction.

What should you be paying more attention to?

Who needs your help?


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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