Paul’s heart’s desire

Date: Thursday, August 22

ScriptureActs 26:19-32

Verse: Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (Acts 26:29)

Evangelism is not a four-letter word, but many in the church treat it as such. I have been part of discussions over the years (and even led some of them) about renaming the evangelism committee because of that word. The connotation associated with evangelism is someone assigned to a neighborhood to knock on doors and present a formula for getting into heaven. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be on that committee either. 

When we think of Paul as an evangelist, we might project such an impression upon him as well, which is reinforced by part of today’s passage. King Agrippa catches Paul slipping into evangelism mode in the middle of his trial. “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” the king asks. Certainly Paul was a bit out of line, turning from testifying in his defense to testifying about Jesus. Today’s judicial system wouldn’t look kindly upon that either. 

The next sentence though, reveals Paul’s heart, “I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am [a Christian] – except for these chains.” Paul is not about the work of sharing Jesus with people to add to a number on some heavenly tote board. Nor is he looking to make another tally mark in his journal. Instead, his heart’s desire is that everyone would come to know Jesus as he has. He wants others to know there is a far better way to live than what they are used to. This love for others and the desire for them to know the best life, flows from Paul so freely, he slips into it even while he is defending himself before the king, whom Paul sees as just another person living outside of the best life. 

This is a much better view of evangelism. Paul is not sharing a formula, but sharing Jesus and what he has done in his life. I want to be part of that kind of evangelism committee. 

Prayer: Teach me, Lord Jesus, to share my story of life with you, so others might come to find the best life. Amen. 

Action: There is probably someone in your life who needs to hear of the better life Jesus offers. Begin to think through how you might allow Jesus to flow through you as you tell him/her your story. 

Respond: Does the word evangelism send a chill up your spine? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.


About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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