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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 18

As some of you know, I taught in a juvenile corrections center for 6 years in the 1990’s. I loved the experience a great deal and accumulated many memories from that period of my life. One of those memories involved a group of kids who were locked up in the detention center who had come into Spokane, WA from Compton, CA.

Spokane is a community that is primarily white. The kids from Compton were African American. Needless to say, it wasn’t the easiest situation for the kids from Compton to be in.

During their stay, I had the opportunity to bring a guest speaker to spend time with the kids – a man by the name of Ron Simms who was running for the US Senate in the state of Washington. Ron happened to be the first African-American to run for statewide office.

I thought Ron would be an amazing resource for the kids from Compton. And yet throughout Ron’s entire time in the classroom, the kids were completely detached from Ron and at times were downright hostile. We made it through Ron’s presentation. Ron politely shook the kids’ hands and left.

I was completely frustrated and blurted out, “How could you have been so disrespectful to Ron?” I was convinced the experience had been a complete waste of time. And then the most interested conversation ensued. It started with one of the kids asking, “Why are you upset? No one else cares about what we do so why should you?”

Those questions allowed me to open up and connect with the students in ways that I had been unable to do before. An experience that I thought had been a total waste of time turned out to be a rich experience.

The apostle Paul had a similar experience in today’s reading from Acts where he thought an effort he had made (the effort to go to Corinth) had completely failed. Just as he was about to write off the Corinthians, the passage tells us Paul encountered Crispus (the meeting place president) and Crispus “put his trust in the Master”.

Paul’s story reminds us of the danger of writing something off too soon. Something we might consider a complete failure in one moment might turn out to be something of great value or tremendous worth in another moment.

Perhaps there is a part of your life that you are on the verge of writing off – an area that you see as a complete failure. If so, don’t be afraid to step back for a moment and look at the area from another vantage point. You just might see powerful consequences coming out of that “failed” endeavor.

Til next time…

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