“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:4 (NIV84)
After Stephen’s death, the church began to experience heavy persecution. People were imprisoned. Their businesses were destroyed. Some even lost their lives. Because of this elevating persecution, Christians began to leave their homes and were forced to move into foreign lands. What a tough thing for this young church. One would not blame them if they chose to withdraw to protect themselves. After losing their homes and their businesses, who would blame them if they went into hiding for a while?
But that is not what they did. As they moved into new territories and cultures, they amazingly continued to “preach the word wherever they went.” I find it remarkable that these early Christians were so committed to their faith that they continued to risk their lives to spread the good news about Jesus. They understood that the things of this world were secondary to the work of the kingdom of God. I find myself challenged as to whether I have the same perspective as these early Christians. It is so easy to make this life major and our faith minor. Like these early believers, we need to stay focused on our primary purpose. We need to be witnesses to the Gospel. We need to be so committed to this task that not even persecution will stop us.