At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God -- he and his whole family.
Thoughts for Today:In 1999, eleven year old Kevin Stephan was acting as the bat boy at his younger brother's baseball practice. As one of the boys took a mighty swing at a pitch the bat slipped out of his hands and struck Kevin in the chest, stopping his heart. Luckily one of the mothers watching practice that day was Penny Brown, who was also a nurse. She immediately rushed onto the field and began to administer CPR to Kevin and saved his life.
As a result of this experience, Kevin dedicated himself to emergency training. Years later as a Junior Fire Fighter and Eagle Boy Scout, his goal was to one day to apply the knowledge and training he had acquired to save lives by becoming an Emergency Medical Technician. Now, at the age of seventeen, Kevin was employed as a dishwasher at a local restaurant to save money for college, when he heard a commotion in the main dining area. Rushing out of the kitchen, he found one of the patrons clutching her neck, her face turning red, clearly choking. Coming up behind her, he applied the Heimlich maneuver, clearing her breathing passage of food that had become lodged in her throat. He saved her life. Who was the woman? None other than Penny Brown.
I believe God is in control and there are no coincidences -- I can't explain how or why God does things, only that He does. When I first read the story of Kevin and Penny, I was first struck by the divine coincidence of each saving the other's life. But something else jumped out at me as well, it was the similarity of their natures: they were both "trained lifesavers." Certainly there were other people at the baseball game that day, but it was Penney who stepped forward to serve. And likewise, six years later there were other people present but it was Kevin who stepped from the kitchen to save Penney's life. Why? Because it was their nature to want to serve by saving lives -- Penny as a nurse, Kevin as a Junior Firefighter and EMT in training.
So what is the typical nature and response of every Christian who is saved? They want to serve, in the jailer's case by washing wounds and providing hospitality. And how did he feel about his service? "He was filled with joy." Too often we think that joy comes solely from the knowledge, awareness and experience of God's saving grace. It's not surprising when over time some of us aren't as joyful as we were the first time we knew we were saved. My point today is service is how we constantly become re-filled with joy each and every day. It is the joy of giving back in our small way for the gift God gave us. It is our nature as Christians to want to serve.
Questions to Ponder:How do you feel right now? Are you filled with joy? When was the last time you served? When was the last time you stepped forward from the crowd, took a risk and got into service? Lives are saved when we serve -- some immediately and dramatically and others slowly, but over time (it took six years for Penny's gift of life for Kevin to come full circle) we are always blessed by our service as we bless others. Have you been a blessing today? Will you tomorrow?