Acts 28:30-31 (ESV)
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
One of the oddest things about Acts is the way it ends. Luke concludes by summarizing two years of Paul’s ministry in a single sentence. He was proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
But Luke leaves everything hanging. Paul is alive – as are virtually all the other major players. Everything is ongoing. Nothing is complete. Nothing ends.
It’s as if this is just the second book in a series. It feels like Luke decided that he’d written enough and just stopped, put a stamp on it, and dropped it in the mail.
It is a letter, after all. Luke is updating Theophilus on how things are going. Luke caught up to the present at the time he wrote this letter, and so it was done. While Luke is a very thorough writer, he doesn’t seem to fancy himself as a chief historian.
But that’s what he turned out to be.
Even after Luke had completed his two great works, no one had any idea how significant they would become. He may have been a great doctor, but what he’s known for is two letters. The people who actually read those letters couldn’t have imagined that they’d be copied and translated a billion times. They didn’t even have a concept of numbers that large.
God uses people in ways they can’t imagine and don’t understand. Even after the fact, we rarely know what we’ve done. Children we teach will outlive us by decades – and may change the world. Something as seemingly insignificant as babysitting can alter history. You just never know.
In his infinite wisdom, God doesn’t let us see all the consequences of our actions. It’s way too grand for us to comprehend anyway. But this can make serving Him feel unrewarding. You do things that you know are good, but you often don’t see how they mattered.
This is one of the reasons why we are commanded to encourage one another.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
How can we encourage our brethren in Christ? Ask for divine assistance in this. Ask God to show you folks who could use a boost and ask Him to show you how to encourage them.
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