A college athlete goes pro, landing a multi-million-dollar, multiple-year signing deal. An office temp worker buys a $1 lottery ticket and wins $10,000,000.00. An out-of-work tradesperson is notified of being named sole heir of a distant uncle’s sizable estate. A TV ad actor is pegged for a lead role in a blockbuster film. These scenarios are the stuff of dreams. But, if and when these dreams materialize, they are accompanied by a whirlwind of unanticipated consequences. To be sure, wealth of this kind is a heady ride, but successfully coping with sudden abundance can be challenging, especially for someone full of youthful enthusiasm but lacking in maturity, someone with a modest family background where money was always tight, or someone with untested naivete. A trustworthy life coach is invaluable for the journey ahead in these rags-to-riches stories.
‘Rags-to-riches’ well describes the disciples’ post-Pentecost lives. Gifts! Heavenly gifts! Gifts they’d never imagined possible. For them! To be given away! I mean, the very first sermon Peter ever preached was ad lib, no notes, no forethought, and it enthralled the multitude and incredulously, in response to his words, 3,000 people believed the Gospel message, got baptized (how that happened in a single day boggles my mind!) and were added as members to the fledgling church – on Day One! (Acts 2:41) Just six verses later, Luke tells us that the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life (this is after the initial, incredible response!). He doesn’t detail the crowd interactions of the other disciples, but we read that they performed many signs and wonders and miracles of various sorts. And I picture them continuing to speak foreign languages that day with fluency and great passion. The happy chaos of those first days must have been at once beautiful and bewildering. Imagine, for example, if at the end of the first week, there were upwards of 6,000 people now introduced to Jesus; message of the Kingdom, and all of them looking to the small band of disciples to lead them! (I’ll bet they were seriously scrambling for Nursery and Sunday School workers!) As I think about the wildness of those not-so-ordinary days, I sense a stirring in my spirit, a deep yearning, for that same intensity of the Holy Spirit to overwhelm us, throwing us afresh into His rushing stream, re-newing us, re-vivifyng us, re-novating us, re-invigorating us. ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ – indeed! PD