“What must I do?” (Acts 16:30)
The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas this question which is a critical one for each of us. What must a person do to be saved not only from everlasting fire but also in times of Melancholy? When our world is in chaos and as such times of misery, humans are likely to seek answer and liberation from any kinds of suffering as well as trial. Who do we ask this question and accept answer in resolving our problems.
When Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was asked this question by the rich young ruler, His answer was simple: “keep the commandments and you will be saved.” (John 15:10) How does keeping the commandment save us? is what we shall ask next. The law of God is the light to our path, as Prophet David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
In every situation of our lives, the word of God has answer and no rule is above it. The rule is what we are given as guide to our spiritual life. Whether we are in contentment or sorrow, in peace or desolation, resilient or frail, it is His way in knowing our future. Here, it is better to be aware of the will of God, in keeping His commandments for He has made all for a good reason.
Sometimes we might feel the Lord has not heard our prayer in answering our questions though we are living by His rule. The young man thought of fulfilling the will of God, but was not right. He had kept the commandments, but whilst His conversion with Lord Jesus, he discovered another vital aspect: that is to sell his possessions and follow the Lord. This was a difficult task as he was rich. But nothing is ever important and valuable than pleasing the Lord and live by His rule.
Brethren! we shall ask ourselves if we are willing and ready to live by the rule of God and make all the scarification in fulfilling His will. Be it leaving our wealthy, family or selling our possessions, flee to the wild or be in disguise and suffer much or else be imprisoned, it is our way of sacrifice to our faith and religion.
Many stories are in scripted in the Holy Scripture, that are exemplary for us ordinary people in flowing the path of Life and enriching Kingdom of God. There are many righteous whose life are to be commemorated by the whole world. Let us tell you the story of Abba Pawli (Paul) who was the greatest of all the desert monks, and the equal of the angels who keep vigil, as in scripted in Yekatit 2.
He had a brother whose name was Peter, and their father was a rich man. The multitude of his possessions, of gold, and silver, and costly apparel, was countless. When their parents died, and the days of their mourning for them were ended, the two brothers began to divide their inheritance from their father; and Paul’s brother Peter took the larger share, and assigned to Paul the lesser share. Paul was sad about and he said to his brother, “Why do not you give me my share of the inheritance of my father?” Peter answered and said to him, “you are a young man, and will squander your money. I will take care of it for thee until you are grown up.”
Thereupon Paul became wroth, and the two brothers quarreled together. They even went to the governor, so that he might do justice to each. As they were going along, they met a dead man, who was ready for the tomb. Men were carrying him on a bier and many men were following him, making lamentation for him. Straightway Saint Paul called to one of those who were following the dead man, and said to him, “Who is this that has died this day?” The man said to him, “He is a very well-known man, my son. He who died this day was a rich man and he lived delicately, possessed gold and silver. Behold, he has left all this and he goes naked to the grave, in a sea of sins, by the road on which he shall never return. Now, O my son, it is meet for us to fight for the salvation of our souls, for we know not when we shall die. But, blessed is the man who has dominion and money in this world! let him abandon riches if he would receive great honor in the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of all the saints.”
When Abba Paul heard these words he cried out in his heart, saying, “What have I to do with the possessions of this fleeting world, which after a few days I must leave, and depart naked?” Then he turned to his brother, and said to him, “Let us go back together to our house, for from this time onward I will never speak again about money.” Then he fled from his brother, and went outside the city. He went into a grave and sat down inside it; for three days and three nights, he prayed and entreated God to guide him into the right way. His brother passed many days in going round about through all the villages seeking for him, but he found him not. He mourned for him with a very great sorrow. Whilst Saint Paul was sitting in that tomb for three days, he did not remember food and drink, and fear and terror did not assail him, for the might of God overshadowed him.
On the fourth day God sent His angel to him, caught him up from the grave, and carried him into the Inner Desert, towards the east. He set him down in that place by the side of a well of water; and then the angel embraced him, and went up into heaven. Saint Abba Paul has ever since lived a monastic life until his departure day. He has become an intercessor of people for God’ mercy and salvation for many of us. What is important to notice in Abba Paul’s life is the will of Man in obeying His Lord and following Him living anything and everything that hinders the true path.
We might all be “possessed by our possessions” just as the young man in the bible. It is hard for many of us to leave our wealth, family or fame if we are asked to, in following the Lord. However, it is also very essential to recon the truth and consequences if we are to disappoint God and defy His law.
Money, beauty or else authority are just temporary. In fact, these are what bring complications, obstacle and trails in our lives. They are the reason for the breach of peace, health disorder and loss of lives. We are in chaos these days due to our defiant of God’s law and living sin even though we might or might not be aware of it.
But I tell you dear brethren, no weakness, fault or sin is accepted in front of God, for He is perfect, Holy and judges in truth. It might not mean though He is not forgiving if we plead His mercy. No human is without fault or sin, but what is necessary is to differentiate our sins and be cleansed from them. Then, we are likely to live by God’s law and fulfill His demands.
May God’s mercy be with all of us, Amen!