The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Pastors engage in many very encouraging and fulfilling activities. But sometimes quite the opposite is true. One of the disheartening things which I have done as a pastor has been visiting people who immediately assume there’s something wrong. “Why would the pastor want to visit us? Are we in trouble?” Acts 15:30-35 shows a pattern of visits. A delegation from Jerusalem is sent out to visit churches which have been hurt, confused, and possibly led astray. They may be in deep trouble. After all, the issue at hand is one which could draw people away from the free grace of God in Christ. That is serious trouble.
How is the delegation received? With an open heart. The people they are visiting know their visitors are coming for their good, not for their harm. Will there be rebuke? Possibly so. However, the issue at hand is not personal. There is no desire to hurt the believers. The visit is only for their good. The correction is only so they can trust in the true Gospel.
The result of the visit is encouragement. It is strength. The word of the Lord goes out, welcoming people to eternal life. This is only ever a good thing. May we, like the early Christians, be ready to receive the encouragement brought by Christian leaders. The visitors and the visited alike take strength from such a meeting.
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