Has your life ever been consumed by something for a while? Maybe an exam or a project that required late nights every night for a few months? Or a wedding you were planning for, or a performance you were involved in at a local theatre, or a marathon you were training for, or a house you were doing up.
Whatever it was totally took over. You never meant for it to happen, but it found its way into every conversation you had, occupied every waking moments thought and every sleeping moments dreams. You turned down social invites from friends as you needed to focus, (and then they stopped inviting you anyway cos if you did turn up you would just yak on about it blah blah blah!)
Then the thing happened.
And then it was over.
Passed. Married. Performed. Run. Renovated.
And then there was a void.
When we live to tell a small story, we involve ourselves in something which we will out-grow, which will at some point begin to feel small to our soul and leave us empty.
You can see this sometimes with film stars who were the toast of Hollywood and who spent 3 years shooting, promoting and receiving awards for the greatest film of the year…but then the machine rolls on and looks for the new 5-star-film, leaving yesterdays star sat on the sidewalk next to their handprint in desperate need of the next fix.
Or sports stars who spend years training and busting a gut to win the biggest trophy, become the number one…and then, they’ve done it. Mission accomplished.
But it was still not enough.
Today’s reading finishes with a really brief description of the disciples (right at the end of Acts 13) – It says they were “filled with the Holy Spirit AND WITH JOY”
Even though it seemed like everything they had been living for and waiting for and hoping for was now in the past. Even though they had got to hang out with the real, actual, skin-on, sit next to me and chat about fishing Jesus…they were not despondent…there was no void which needed filling – they were full of joy!
Well…they all seem to be living to tell a bigger story.
Have you noticed that some of the stories over the last few days have been a little, how can we say this…er, repetitive?!
THAT’S THE POINT!
Wherever they are, and whoever they are with, and whatever their circumstances, the disciples are telling the story of Jesus. And – they are pointing out that this story is way bigger than just them. WAY BIGGER! The story has been going on for thousands of years, has got countless chapters and involves millions of people. The story is told by the stars which bow your mind, and told by the people all around you, the ancient prophecies and poems, the flow of history and the buzz of today. The story does not end, could not end, has not been beaten and so telling the story of Jesus rather than themselves reminds the disciples that they are involved in something awesome.
Today’s chapter has Paul and Barnabas in front of evil sorcerers, Roman local-government officials, religious leaders and regular people off the street…and their answer is always the same… “Look at Jesus and how amazing He is…get involved in His way of doing things. IT’s what we are doing, it’s what King David did, and it’s what you should do too”.