Archive for July 22nd, 2006

The Promise of Persecution

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Please read 2 Timothy 3:10-12 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Morgan Stewart):

Being a trailblazer in a career dominated by men has not been easy. Years ago, my company affirmed my computer technology and leadership abilities by promoting me to senior management at the tender age of 29. The newly created position came with executive dining room privileges — a first for any woman at the firm.

Not long after, I entered the formal oak dining room of the prestigious company only to have the maitre d’ say, “Miss, this dining room is for use by executives only.”

I quickly replied and smirked (such incidents have happened before), “I am the executive.” But the headwaiter, now angry, persisted, “Look, this dining room is only for senior management — not junior associates, assistants or anyone else!”

Thinking surely I had him this time, again I insisted, “I am the senior manager.” But the stubborn man would not budge. Sneering at me over the top of his reservations book, he paged the dining room manager over the public address system, all the while leaving me waiting and others behind me fuming.

I was embarrassed and hurt that another employee would treat me with such hatred. With tears stinging my eyes, I started to walk away, leaving my appetite for lunch and collegiality at the door. Silently, I thought “Could God really have called me to such a place?” Soon God reminded me of the Bible verse “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) I decided to stay. As I waited patiently, the restaurant manager soon arrived to seat me and even apologized for the rude maitre d’.

While there are many truths given to us in scripture that we are happy to claim, the promise of persecution is never eagerly anticipated. Yet, this too, was promised to those who follow in the footsteps of Christ. This story may seem like a small example compared to, say, the problems faced by the Apostle Paul, but it was painful at the time and it’s made a difference in the way I understand persecution. May we continue to persevere, and to God be the glory as we try to hang on!

Thought for the day: Precious Lord, You, too, were ridiculed and persecuted for your truth. Remind us that as we suffer, your presence is always with us. Give us courage to speak up when we can, and stamina to endure where we must.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: The brand new African American Oasis at Jesus MCC, that’s set to start on August 9.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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