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Devotions

Draw the Circle Wide

Read Acts 11:1-18.

This conversation begins as a confrontation. Peter was being criticized for being in fellowship with and baptizing Gentiles. To that point, the believers thought that Jesus had come only to redeem the children of Israel. After relating his dream, his initial hesitation and the Spirit’s insistence that he make no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, his critics relented. Peter asked the question, “Who was I to hinder God?”

Sometimes, we get very set in our ways. We think God can only speak through certain kinds of people, through certain types of music, through worship done a certain way. Similarly, there are those we assume are outside the bounds of God’s grace and mercy – those we see as unreachable or irredeemable. We may even resist the efforts of others to be more inclusive or expansive. And yet, we must ask ourselves Peter’s question. Who are we to hinder God?

Can you think of a time when you have resisted – either actively or passively – the inclusion of a person or group of people in the ministries of the church? Have you ever asked someone, “Why are you wasting your time with them?” What attitudes or traditions do you hold so tightly that it might be hindering God?

Offer a prayer of praise for God’s surprising, ever-expanding circle of grace.