“I consider myself fortunate.” – Acts 26:2 (Acts 26:1-32)
After two years in Caesarea, held in ah Roman prison, Saul Paul whar at last called upon ter testify be fer King Agrippa. Tha king assumed tha throne when he whar around seventeen, so by tha time Saul Paul stood be fer him, King Agrippa be near ’bout thirty-three.
“Listen to me patiently,” said Saul Paul. “For a long time I lived according to the strictest sect of our religion and now my hope is in what God promised our fathers. This is why I am on trial. I too opposed the name of Jesus. I too put many in prison for following Jesus. I too put many to death for following Jesus. I cast my vote against them. I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession, I went to foreign cities to persecute them.”
Right off we kin see how Saul Paul come clean and confessed that he understood why others be seeking ter take his life: that he himself could sympathize with ’em, fer at one time he be jest like ’em. This ought ter be tha attitude of all us. Be fer tha Son saved us with his blood, we were his enemies. We stood with tha persecutors. But praise be, tha Son done saved us from all our filthy living.
Saul Paul continued by saying, “I was sent to open the eyes of those in darkness, to bring them into the light. I was sent to turn them from the power of Satan to God. I was sent that they may receive forgiveness of sins. I was sent that they might have a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus. I preach that all should repent, turn to God, and prove their repentance by their deeds. For this purpose I have had God’s help to this very day. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said.”
At this point Festus, the governor, piped up. “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane.”
Saul Paul replied, “I am not insane. What I am saying is true and reasonable. King Agrippa is familiar with these things.” Turning ter tha king he said, “Do you believe the prophets?”
At this King Agrippa shot back, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
“Short or long,” Saul Paul said, “I pray to God that not only you, but all who are listening to me today may become what I am.”
Time be short. Ever day we move one step closer ter tha end of us. Lubbers ‘ill go down in ter tha grave; sailors ‘ill go down ter Davy Jones. Kings and common folk, free and slave, princes and paupers, all end as food fer worms. Question be, whar ya going after ya go down?
This also be tha question posed ter tha young king. Agrippa might ‘ave thought he had ah grip on matters, only tha deep questions of life whar beyond his learning, his pedigree, his perspective.
“Do you think that you can persuade me to be a Christian?” This be tha question others might ask us.
When they do, doth not seek ter argue with ’em. Ya ‘ill only be wasting yer breath. Instead listen carefully ter thar excuses, thar account of past grievances, thar reasons fer thinking they know better than Skipper ’bout life and death and heaven and hell. If tha Holy Ghost of Truth prompts ya with a word, if ya spot an opening that seems welcoming, engage with a wee bit more kindness. But if no opening comes, take note of thar name, thar story, tha wounds they revealed.
Then pray fer ’em. This be tha example of Saul Paul. “I pray to God that not only you, but all who are listening to me today may become what I am.”
Long ago someone most likely prayed fer ya ter fall at tha feet of tha Son. If ya consider yerself fortunate ter be in tha Son, return tha favor.