Acts 7: 59-60 (KJV)
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Mitch Albom in his book Have a Little Faith shares a snippet of a sermon illustration the Reb gave which reads “A young man sought employment on a farm. He handed a letter to his potential employer that read, “He sleeps in a storm.” The desperate owner needed help, so he hired the young man despite his enigmatic letter. Several weeks passed and, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm ripped through the valley. Awakened by the storm, the owner jumped out of bed. He called for his new employee, but the man was sound asleep. The owner dashed to the barn and to his amazement, the animals were safe with plenty of food. He hurried to the nearby field only to see that the bales of wheat were already bound and wrapped in tarpaulins. He ran to the silo. The doors were latched and the grain was dry. And then the owner understood, “He sleeps in a storm.”
Storms of life are inevitable. Some of us in this church are currently in a storm and still others have just come out of a storm. Perhaps there’s those of us reading this that see the proverbial clouds darkening on the horizon.
Stephen was fully committed to Christ and was willing to give his life for his faith. Even as he took his final breaths asking Jesus to not hold this against the people responsible, scripture tells us that he fell asleep.
It is our acts of piety that help us stay connected with God during those difficult storms: praying, fasting, reading scripture, meditating, taking in Holy Communion, participating in small groups, and of course being in community at church on Sunday morning.
Paul in Romans 8:35 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall troubles or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
It can be difficult for us in La Junta in 2017 to understand what it means to sacrifice for Christ. We have all been given so much and lack for so little.
And yet, even with all our blessings that come with living in such a prosperous nation; we will all find ourselves in different storms at different times in our lives: divorce, loss of a job, serious illness, loss of a loved one, etc.
Our faith in Christ helps sustain us and helps each of us a believers to “sleep in a storm”; like the man seeking employment on the farm and like Stephen as he faced his last moments with his eyes firmly looking up to our Lord and Savior,
May it be so.
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Monday - 1:00 PM
La Junta United Methodist Church
601 San Juan Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Phone: (719) 384-7717
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