So the next day [King] Agrippa and [his sister] Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. [Governor] Festus ordered that Paul be brought in. Acts 25:23 (NLT)
Confession time. When I was a young man, I was incredibly intimidated to be around people of worldly influence, social status, and power. When I began working for c wenger group, I was occasionally asked to accompany my employer and colleagues into meetings with prominent business leaders. I was nervous and self-conscious. My heart would pound and I could feel my cheeks become flushed if I was ever asked to speak. It took all of my training as a theatre major to act calm.
Over the years, the nerves, fear and anxiety faded. Time and experience taught me that I had nothing to fear. In fact, I began to realize two very important life lessons. First, I came to understand that the people in those positions of relative power are very much human like I am. They have the same human emotions and weaknesses as anyone else. In fact, often because of their position those individuals can feel more lonely and isolated than you might expect. Second, I learned that my position afforded me the sometimes unique opportunity to have relationships and show love to some of these individuals. God was giving me an open door to be a person of influence with persons of influence.
I thought about that as I read in today’s chapter about Paul getting called into deposition after deposition with the various leaders and rulers of the day. Each interview and trial was a unique chance to share his story and share God’s Message with an audience few if any could otherwise reach. It was also a direct fulfillment of Jesus’ prophetic message to His followers:
“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls.”
Today, I am thankful for the unique positions God places us in our jobs, our communities, and in life circumstances – that we might have the opportunity to be people of influence. I pray that I will be a good steward of the opportunities I am given.