In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city. (Acts 14:19-20a)
Yep. You read that correctly, all right. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking that they had killed him. However, he was not dead. Instead, he got back up and…
And went back into the city!
I’m thinking to myself, “Self, if someone stoned me, thinking that they had killed me, and then dragged me out of the city, if I found myself still to be alive and ambulatory, I would ambulate myself as far from the city as possible, not back into the fray!”
Oh, no. Not Paul.
Of course, he did not stay there for long. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Yet, he had incredible guts going back into the city where the citizens attempted to kill him.
Makes me do a self-check, that scripture does.
We become frightened so easily and perceive so many things as threats. So many people are afraid to be “Christian” in public. It is not so easy to see people praying together before meals in restaurants. It is not so easy to find someone who will help someone who has fallen — many people will walk around or even over the one who fell.
We do not want to get involved. We do not want to get identified as “Christian”. We want to be invisible. We certainly do not want to be like Paul, a person who willingly went back for more.
But, is fleeing the answer?
FAITH ACTION: Has there been something in our faith life that we quit doing because we were insulted or felt threatened? Is there something that we are afraid to do in public for fear of being harassed? It is time to take stock, to ask the Lord for courage, and to get back into the fray.