Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him." So he took him to the commander. The centurion said, "Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you." The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, "What is it you want to tell me?" He said: "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. Don't give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request." The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, "Don't tell anyone that you have reported this to me."
Thoughts for Today:I'm sure Paul's nephew felt he had the responsibility to save Paul's life as he was taken to the commander. Can you imagine what he must have been thinking? "What if the commander doesn't believe me? They're going to kill Uncle Paul and its going to be my fault!" Talk about stress. It makes my current concerns about money, children, and problems at work seem relatively insignificant. I think this passage gives us some insight into how we might gain some stress relief in our own lives if we follow these three simple steps:
1. Acknowledge the Lord is in control. Previously, the Lord placed Paul's nephew within earshot of the plot to kill him. Next, the Lord "moved" the young man to speak to Paul about it. Then, the Lord gave Paul's nephew courage and words to speak convincingly of the plot to the commander. I would say the Lord had a plan to save Paul.
2. Do your part. I'm sure Paul's nephew being a young man was a little unnerved by the whole event (40 men, an ambush, murder, etc). However, he still did his job. Certainly the Lord is capable of doing things on this earth without our cooperation. The fact that He chooses to use us individually to accomplish His purpose is an honor. All we have to do is what we are supposed to do and use the talent God gave us uniquely. The young man might have been a little uncomfortable but he still did his job.
3. Let the Lord be responsible for the result. I didn't include the result of how this particular ordeal turned out. And many times in our own lives we won't know as well. Therefore the only thing we can do is do our best, then rest in the Lord. In other words, let Him work it out according to His plan.
I consult with men all the time about how to manage stress in their life. We go over these simple three steps. It's really not very complicated, however each are equally important. If you tossed and turned last night over some problem, you might want to give some thought to which of these areas need some work.
Questions to Ponder:If your life feels out of control, that's because it is. We only have the illusion of control. Who do you think is in control of your life: you, the world, or God? What is your role in the circumstance you are in? Have you done what you are supposed to do or are you avoiding doing what's right? When will you do your job? It's funny, but after we have done all the Lord has given us to do it is a lot easier to rest in Him. Think about our passage today, how easy would it have been for Paul's nephew to rest if he had avoided going to the commander? Would he have slept well that evening knowing something bad might happen to his uncle? If you are feeling stress right now acknowledge the Lord is in control, but before you rest in the Lord, make sure you have done your job.