Thursday, February 9, 2012

My All or My Almost?

Have you ever been around someone who talks about what they almost did? I remember this time when I almost.... or There was this time me and a buddy of mine almost.... The problem with almost doing something is that you really did not do anything other than possibly think about it. I remember this time I almost won the lottery. Really, what happened? Well I was planning on buying a lottery ticket but I didn't; but the numbers they called out were the exact numbers I would have chosen. Really? Maybe the almost story it is not too far fetched. Maybe you almost asked a girl to the prom in high school but you chickened out, maybe you almost decided to run for city counsel but you decided against it. As I said before, almost is basically the same as saying you did nothing more than thinking about it.

These last few weeks I have been reading the book of Acts. Our pastor challenged us to read for 28 days the 28 chapters in Acts, one a day. A spiritual vitamin if you will. One thing that has been clear to me is that the early church did not almost do anything, they did it. They gave it their all, not their almost. Story after story shows the church, the apostles and even the enemy giving their all.
Acts 2:42-47 - 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 4:32-35 - 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
The first century church did not almost sell everything and help the needs of those around them, they did sell and share their possessions.
Acts 7:59, 60 - 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen did not almost lose his life for the sake of Christ, he did lose it, he gave it all. The Jews did not almost kill Stephen they did kill him.
Acts 14:19-20 - 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Paul did not almost get stoned for preaching the Gospel he was stoned and left for dead. The enemy of Paul also gave it their all in trying to kill him.

I think many times we want to live in the what almost happened area of our minds. It makes for good stories from time to time. But the bottom line again is that almost doing something is really doing nothing. God has not called us to almost do something he has called us to actually do something with our lives. The apostle Paul really understood this. Take a look at his statement as he was being warned that the Jews wanted to arrest him and possibly kill him.
Acts 21: 13 - 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul would later die for the cause of Christ. Paul and many other followers truly understood that they and we are called to give it our all, not our almost.

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