Pentecost. A Weekly Devotional By Sam Marchetta, Director of Spiritual Care
This Sunday is a big day in the church world….it is the day of Pentecost! The word Pentecost is a Greek word meaning “50th day” as it occurs 50 days from Easter Sunday. Pentecost is the birthday of the church because it marks the moment when a group of first-century followers of Christ had an encounter with the Holy Spirit which caused the movement to grow. On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter stood in front of thousands of people and gave the sermon of his life. The man was on fire. It was a mic drop moment as over 3,000 people responded to his message of faith and the church was born.
Imagine standing up in front of thousands of people without an amplification system and communicating in such a way that numerous people respond to your message. Peter was a smashing success. He stood up and stood out when the brightest lights were on! If we didn’t know better, we could be tempted to think his success was natural or he was just supremely gifted, but that would not be the whole story. Peter was able to stand in life’s large moments because he understood the significance of life’s small moments.
Days before Pentecost, Christ ascended into heaven and told his followers to go wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter, along with a group of about 120 people, gathered in a small room in Jerusalem. They had no idea what to do. Christ was gone, and they faced an unknown future. Imagine being crammed into a room with a large group of people. The situation could not have been comfortable for them. Their life was not enlarged but made smaller. They were not abounding in hope but wrestling with doubt and uncertainty.
I think we can relate to this, right? Have you ever felt like life was closing in on you? Can understand the struggles of not wanting to be in your current life situation? At times we can feel underappreciated or unnoticed by those we love the most. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do. I wish life came with an instruction manual for life’s hardest moments. It would be fantastic to know a schematic of ‘what to do” and “how to do it.” Look at what Peter and those gathered in this room do. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus…. Acts 1:14)
This group stayed encouraged even though they did not want to be in this room or this situation. They remained positive, hopeful, and faithful. They spent time in prayer and spiritual disciplines. They were faithful in the small, insignificant moments of life. And here is the principle: Since they were faithful in the small, unseen moments of life, they could be trusted with the bigger things. Because they were faithful with the few, they could stand before thousands.
I have learned the hard way that “little things” matter. They truly do. The healthiest people in life are committed to the small, everyday things and being the best, they can be in those moments. John Wooden, the basketball coach for UCLA, famously said: “The true test of a person’s character is what they do when no one is watching.”
I’ve got some work to do. How about you?