November 1, 2018

Storms, Shipwrecks, and Snakebites

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 1, 2018

There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. Acts 28:14-15

In the final chapters of Acts, Paul finds himself enduring incredible trials. As he’s transported to Rome in the midst of a significant legal trial, he finds himself caught in a storm at sea, shipwrecked on the island of Malta for months, and even attacked by a viper! Understandably, he’s incredibly happy to finally arrive safely in Rome. Yet his joy and encouragement isn’t simply from safe arrival but is found in the support and love he receives from Christians in that city.

Acts tells us that Paul gave thanks and was encouraged at the very sight of these fellow believers (Acts 28:15). There is an incredible bond of love and affection that exists between Christians. Even though many of them had likely never met Paul before, they knew he was family, that he belonged to them and they to him. To be united to Christ is to be united to his people. To know the love of Christ is to love the people he loves. To receive the grace of God is to be a person who gives grace and goes out of their way to offer encouragement to those who need it the most.

As you hear this story today, you may find yourself identifying with Paul. You feel as though life has been a steady stream of storms, shipwrecks, and snakebites! Have these challenges driven you into isolation? Have you closed yourself off from sources of hope and encouragement? The Christian life is never meant to be lived alone. Allow yourself to receive the gift of community. Choose vulnerability and transparency so you can receive the gift of God’s grace given to you by brothers and sisters in faith.

On the other hand, today you may be in a place of strength in your life and faith. Perhaps like these early Christians who made great sacrifices traveling long distances to care for their brother Paul, you too are being invited to sacrificially reach out in love to people in need of encouragement and refreshment. The strength and courage you have isn’t just for your own comfort and consolation, it is given to you for the sake of others. Boldly be a blessing and agent of God’s grace in someone’s life today!

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Prayer

Father, thank you for the gift of community. Remind us that we are invited to bear one another’s burdens and travel together as your people throughout life’s journey. Amen.


Application

How can you seek out the encouragement of community in your life today? How can you be a blessing to someone in need of refreshment?


Related Reading

Proverbs 17:17; Galatians 6:2; 1 John 1:7


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