Suffering for good...

Today’s Thought:

1 Peter 3:13-17, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

What does this look like?

In his book, Everyday Evangelism (IVP, pp. 21-22), Tom Eisenman tells a moving story that shows that we all can be effective witnesses in this hostile world if we will combine good deeds with verbal witness in submission to Christ’s lordship. David, a ninth grade boy in their youth program, was big for his age and very tough, but he had a heart for Jesus. In school he was making a coffee table for his mother as a Christmas gift. He finished it a few days before Christmas and left it in the shop so he wouldn’t have to take it home and hide it. On the last day of school before vacation David went to pick up his table. He was shocked to find that someone had stolen it.

David had a lot of friends. It didn’t take him long to find out who took his table. It was a younger boy who was unpopular and frail. David easily could have beat him up. Instead, he spent his entire Christmas vacation in the shop at school making a duplicate table. When he had it finished, he went to the other boy’s house. When the younger boy opened the door and saw David standing there, he was petrified. David just said, “I have something I’d like to give you and your family for Christmas.” He handed him the new table.

The younger boy burst into tears. He went into the house and came back with David’s first table. The boys talked. The younger boy asked forgiveness, and David granted it. Within a few weeks the younger boy was attending the youth program at the church and eventually he became a Christian.

Would you examine your own life? Are you zealous for good deeds, even when you’re mistreated? Are you able to give a gentle defense of the gospel? Do you fear the Lord Christ above everyone else? If not, make the necessary adjustments. Then God will use you mightily as His witness in this hostile world.

Prayer: Father, you ask us to follow the great example of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Would You give us strength and the proper perspective to do that? We thank you that Jesus, the righteous, died for us, the unrighteous. It is through His grace and mercy and by His example we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.