We read Acts 6 in Bible study last week–the first part of the story of Stephen who was stoned to death for sharing the Gospel. When opposition first arises against Stephen, there’s this wonderful verse, “But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
It’s early in the story–doesn’t it sound like Stephen is going to win? The bad guys can’t stand up to the wisdom of the Spirit in Stephen. Yeah! And then he delivers this amazing speech totally calling the Sanhedrin out. Now that’s the Spirit at work!
Stephen follows God. He not only preaches but also performs great wonders and signs AND he stands up to the bad guys. I mean, this is the point where we hear triumphant music, the hero grabs the girl, and we roll to credits. Except, the Sanhedrin run Stephen out and stone him to death.
Um, what? That is SO not how I would have written it.
But I think that’s the thing about working for God. “Winning” looks different with him. Winning sometimes looks a lot like dying.
This story tells me I need to be careful how I measure success. Especially as I approach the time when people will share what they think about my novel. The Sanhedrin will likely accuse me. And even if I answer them well, they may throw stones anyway.
It will almost certainly hurt. But like Stephen, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus even if I feel like I’m dying.
Acts 7:55 – “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”