We are preaching through Acts and yesterday we were in Athens. This quote landed with me:
'It is not only the comprehensiveness of Paul's message in Athens which is impressive, however, but also the depth and power of his motivation. Why is it that, in spite of the great needs and opportunities of our day, the church slumbers peacefully on, and that so many Christians are deaf and dumb, deaf to Christ's commission and tongue-tied in testimony? I think the major reason is this: we do not speak as Paul spoke because we do not feel as Paul felt. We have never had the paroxymn of indignation which he had. Divine jealousy has not stirred within us. We constantly pray 'Hallowed be your Name', but we do not seem to mean it, or care that his Name is so widely profaned.
Why is this? It takes us a stage further back. If we do not speak like Paul because we do not feel like Paul, this is because we do not see like Paul. That was the order: he saw, he felt, he spoke. It all began with his eyes.'
[John Stott, Acts, Page 290-1]
Another commentator who has been very helpful to me as we have been in Acts is Ajith Fernanado who I feel I have got to know a little as I have read his commentary. As we have preached through Acts, it is the single-mindness and the sacrifice of Paul that is becoming so striking. He is not saving for his pension and planning for a retirement in the Cotswolds. He is going to Rome to die. As I walk on day by day following Jesus, the task I see before me seems more and more awesome.
Ajith Fernando preached these called 'Why a pastor must die?'