“When you listen well, we get to do fun things together.” It’s a line I’ve said countless times to my kids. Whether before a trip to the park, playground, pool or a ball game, I want them to know that as their respect and willingness to listen grow, so too does their privilege. Obedience begets joy.
God wants us to know the same. In Acts 15, Paul welcomes the Gentiles into deeper joy through obedience to the heart of Jesus as opposed to simply complying to traditional Jewish customs. At the same time, we see the transformation of John Mark. Formerly having deserted Paul on a missionary journey, he goes on to become a champion of the Christian faith, even writing the Gospel of Mark. These passages in Acts serve as a beautiful illustration of our God who calls us into obedience but welcomes us back for second chances when we fall short the first time around.
When my kids don’t listen at the playground or play nicely at the pool, they may experience unwanted consequences like leaving early. But do you think we’ll give it another go in the future? Absolutely.
God’s never done with you either. He’s eternally cheering you, me and humanity on for another round.
Where have I given up?