You are a reporter for your college newspaper. Through the use of a time machine that is similar to the DeLorean car from Back to The Future, you set the date for late 37 A.D. Jerusalem. In transit, you read Acts 9:1-22. You and your camerawoman end up on dusty road leading north from there, following leads for a guy named Saul of Tarsus.
Saul received official papers from the headquarters of Judaism to do whatever was necessary to eliminate a new growing religious effort called The Way. Word leaked that Saul was heading for Damascus, so you head there. Every place you stop for water brings stories of people being beaten, thrown into prison, and even some killed by Saul. The trail then grew cold. You hear no more reports of cruelty over the next 100 miles you walk. You finally get to a rest stop outside of Damascus where you learn that Saul experienced some sort of conversion from Judaism that left him blind. Several days have passed since the incident and the town is abuzz with chatter about Saul’s apparent transformation.
You make it to the Inn on Straight Street where Saul has been staying. The bartender tells you people are still afraid to get close to Saul for fear he may revert to his old ways. He points to a table in the back shadows and says, “Approach him at your own risk.” A guy at the bar says, “Bah! He’s no longer the murderer who came in here blind and broken. He used to be a fire-breathing executioner, but now he’s a humbled man.”
You walk to the rear slowly and ask if you can sit down. Saul motions with his hand and slides the chair away from the table for you. Your associate pulls up a chair from the next table and hits the record button on the camera. You start to introduce yourself, but are quickly cut off as Saul asks, “So are you interested in why my demeanor changed?”
Before you can answer, he continues: “I was knocked off my horse by a blinding light. A voice from heaven asked me why I was persecuting him. I knew then it was Jesus. As he talked, I realized I could no longer keep fighting his words and his will. One day I was hauling his followers off to prison, and the next I was confronted by the One I knew to be Lord of heaven and earth…then my eyesight vanished…boy, did he ever have my attention. I now believe in the One I had been trying to stop.
He told me to go to this Inn and in a few days a man named Ananias would visit me and give me my sight back. Jesus said he had a new mission for me – I was now to work as hard for Him as I did against Him and take His message to the Gentiles (non-Jews). My perspective and the arc of my life changed after that encounter.”
You ask a few more questions, take photos, and then leave with your story. But you are not the same. You are thinking, “If Jesus could change Saul, He could change anyone.” Laura, your photographer says, “I hope God doesn’t ever have to do anything like that to get my attention.” The trip home will give you time to determine how you will answer THE question: What will it take for God to get your full attention? Or are you so wrapped up in your life that He would have to knock you off a horse to get through to you?
Serve globally. God demands your full attention and participation. He wants you to partner with Him in His-Story. How will you respond to His invitation to work for Him?
Love is a verb,