Thursday, October 15, 2009

Personal reference

Today’s Reading: Acts 9:27-28 NIV

27 But Barnabas took [Saul] and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

Good morning!

A personal reference can make all the difference when it comes to finding a new job. When I was hired three years ago by my present employer, one of the attorneys I had worked with at a former law firm took the time to send an email reference to the legal team I was meeting with in advance of my scheduled interview. It was a positive personal reference, citing several instances where I had made a positive impact with their legal team. I have no doubt of the weight it carried when I received a job offer. A good personal reference can carry far greater weight than even a professionally prepared resume, especially when the endorser speaks from the heart.

It is really hard to live down a negative reputation. By God’s grace, people can and do change every day. Yet, human nature teaches us to bear grudges, not trusting that the person who may have previously misled or disappointed others had actually changed! The Apostles and new believers were understandably hesitant when it came to trusting Saul. His reputation for killing new Christian converts preceded his alleged instantaneous conversion. Was it possible that this man, who had hurt so many, was now saved by Jesus Christ?

Thank God for Barnabas. He recognized Saul’s transformation and knew, without a doubt, that he had accepted Jesus as His Lord. Barnabas was well aware of Saul’s tarnished reputation in the Christian community. More than anything else, Saul needed someone who was well-respected to vouch for him in the inner circle. Barnabas was not afraid to bridge the gap between Saul and his skeptics. Have you ever had someone, who knew of your past mistakes, stand up and speak in your favor simply because they believe you are no longer the same?

If you find yourself longing to serve the Lord, yet, do not know how to adequately convey your change of heart to the inner circle, you need a rock-solid endorsement. Let the power of the Holy Spirit speak for you. Time and again, doubters were convinced that someone who may not have been a trustworthy candidate has, in fact, been changed by faith.

Christ is calling you to be a Barnabas to someone who needs a word of encouragement and support today. Do you believe it is possible for a person to truly change? Are you willing to risk your life on it? Father, help us to discern and acknowledge the faith You have planted in the hearts of your servants today. Help us not judge each other on the past mistakes we’ve made, but on the life-changing power that transforms sinners into saints for kingdom work. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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