Speaking to the Soul – July 4

God’s work

In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. Acts 10:1-2

Cornelius is a fascinating character. He wasn’t a Jew and neither was he a follower of Jesus. He was a God-fearer; generous, prayerful and willing that God should use him on this crucial mission to meet up with Peter. Peter was a faithful Jew and struggled to imagine that God could work outside the Jewish nation. Cornelius was going to be the means of helping Peter to see God’s greater plans.

Centurions were immensely powerful army officers, usually having command of 80 legionaries. It is interesting that centurions played a significant part in Jesus’ ministry. On one occasion a centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. He had complete confidence that if Jesus only said the word, the man would be healed. Jesus responded that he hadn’t found anyone in Israel with such great faith as this (Matthew 8:5-13). Then, after Jesus had been crucified, it was the centurion on duty that day who was the one to exclaim: “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).

When I was young, I got the impression that there were two kinds of people. People who loved God and others who hated him. But it’s not as simple as that. The Bible introduces us to many people who were not believers yet in whose lives God was powerfully at work. Today, let’s give thanks that God is at work in the lives of many people who know nothing of the Bible or Jesus. We will definitely want to share the good news with them, but we shouldn’t be surprised when we find that God has already been working in their lives.

Can you think of anyone you know who is not yet a Christian, but in whose life God is clearly at work?

Dear Lord, thank you that you are at work in so many people’s lives. Amen