The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”
30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” – Acts 10:23b-33
There are those who speak truth so deeply that I want to hang on every word. One was a seminary professor who had a delightful way with words and thoughts. Another is a wordsmith whose books contain such wonderful stories and turns of phrases that I want to devour them over and over.
I don’t do the same with owners manuals. Those are reserved for times of trouble and problem-solving. They may contain important and true information. Some of the directives may even be vitally important to know and follow. If you don’t change your oil regularly your engine will eventually break!
If you think of God’s word as coming from the owners manual, and his commandments as directions for maintaining a good life, you may be less inclined to want to read and hear what God has to say. Thankfully God’s word is much more than a collection of directions and problem-solving tools.
God’s mission is not simply to give you a good life, or help you succeed, or build a good family (good as those may be!). So his word is not simply a page or paragraph from the Owner’s manual. His words are the words of life itself. They are sweet to the taste and give balm to the soul.
God is writing a story in your life and mine. It started from the foundations of time. It became real and observable in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The story continued through people like Peter and the early missionary/apostles. Cornelius was eager to hear how that story would unfold. It’s still unfolding in people’s lives today. Are you ready to listen? Stay tuned, and read on.