Originally written in 2003
In the book of Acts, we read about the day of Pentecost and how Peter stood and explained the coming of the Spirit of God. We rejoice when we hear how, ‘three thousand souls were added unto them.” We marvel at the healing of the lame man by the Holy Spirit, at the laying on of hands by Peter and John. Of course, there is the good soldier himself, once an enemy of the Church turned ally; and a chosen vessel of God, the Apostle Paul. He was a friend, teacher, example and elder statesman of the early church. Then there is Stephen, Barnabas, James, Phillip and Ananias. But wait! Even the sisters got in on the acts and did their part. Sisters of the Gospel like, Priscilla, Mary the mother of John, Phoebe, who was actually a deacon, as well as others. All played a role, and had a huge impact on the Church.
When I was in the U.S. Army, a Sergeant told me once that, “Some of the most effective leaders are the ones you rarely or never see.” Of all these great men and women of God, there was a man though involved in the Acts of the Church, he was never mentioned, still he played a pivotal role, if not the most important role in the building of the Church.
This man of God, unlike the other apostles, did not affect people with words from his mouth; rather he made an impact with the words from his pen. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Believe it or not, the Apostle Luke affected my life and yours with what he wrote not with what he said.
Out of all that was done and said in the book of Acts, because of Luke’s obedience to God and his calling, in that he knew and understood the role that he would play in the building of the Church, he made it possible for you and I to know, to hear and to read the story of the early church. His obedience to God’s will, made it possible to read how Peter stood up boldly on the day of Pentecost and preached salvation unto all that would hear him. Lukes writings illustrated how Peter and John laid hands and the people were healed.
Luke’s obedience to the Holy Spirit gave us the opportunity to read how Stephen was stoned to death for Christ’s sake. In Acts 7:54-60 Luke tells us that, “he was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.” Despite the predicament Stephen found himself in, despite the pain of being bitten and stoned by people, Stephen’s mind was stayed on Jesus. Luke’s account of this event is so vivid that the reader’s heart is tugged to the point of sorrow, anger and the desire to want to reach out and help Stephen. Yet, when we read on, Luke lets us know that Stephen was so focused on Jesus that even in the process of being stoned he continued praising the Lord and even took time to say, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (NKJV) This statement alone may have comforted Luke as he witnessed God’s will being done. Luke witnessed an event that sparked a revolution that turned the world up-side-down.
Luke was a chosen vessel sent to do the job that God chose him to do. This is why Luke did not interfere with what was happening to Stephen or in any of the events that he witnessed. He knew his place, he knew that if the Church was to grow and advance, you and I would need a map; a, “how-to-manual.” He knew that someone had to keep a written account of who, what, when and how. Luke knew that someone would have to tell the story.
God always places special people behind the scenes; these individuals play a huge role in the success of any organization, including the Church. They affect lives, they plant and water, they equip others in ways that are unconventional, and in ways that many in Christendom are unaccustomed to. They do it without being seen by man; they do it without saying a word. They don’t need to be seen or out in front yet many times what they do has the greatest affect on the church as a whole.
As you read the book of Acts, notice how the Lord places Luke in the right places and at the right time. He was there to witness many things. In Acts 27, we read Luke’s account of the storm he and Paul encountered on their way to Rome. Notice out of all that Luke wrote, he never complained about the storm or his situation. He was in the midst of a “Euroclydon” and the ship that they were in was being tossed back and forth. The men on the ship were throwing things overboard in order to keep the ship afloat. Luke never complained, neither does he mention himself during this terrible storm. He stayed focused on the job that God sent him to do. He was focused on writing the story.
Just as a war correspondent is embedded with soldiers sent to the battle field, so was Luke. His job was to communicate back to the people the events of the "Spiritual" war. These correspondents are many times caught in the heat of battle: Explosives going off all around them, bullets streaking across their heads, some even wounded or killed, yet they know the job that they were sent to do.
Like all of the apostles, God has called us to do His will. To do this, He has given us gifts just as the apostles were given gifts and callings. All of their gifts and callings were different, but all for the glory of God.
It is unscriptural and unwise to assume that because someone exercises a spectacular gift, (Paul for example) that person is more spiritual than one who has less spectacular gifts. (According to the natural eye) Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (KJV)
Luke not only understood his gift, but what role he would play, so that God’s will would be done. He understood that the gift of writing was to be used to edify the body of Christ and he was determined to be a functioning member of the body.
One does not have to hold the position of evangelist, prophet, pastor or teacher to edify the body of Christ. All one has to do is be committed to the will of God and have a genuine love for God’s people. No matter what your gift or calling, and no matter if you are in front, in between or behind the scenes, lead like Luke, play your role! Thanks to Luke and his obedience to the Holy Spirit, we have the book of Acts. We know the story.