“ Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.” – Acts 6:8-10.
If I asked a group of people to describe their life – right now – in one word, the answers would probably be some of the usual suspects: growing, frustrating, disappointing, fulfilled, stuck, struggling, joyful, defeated, exciting, empty, etc. How you look at life is probably a direct result of whether life turned out the way you thought it would. Usually, there are some unexpected bumps in the road, causing our plans to derail.
The Bible tells the story of a young man who lived his life well. And even though it wasn’t a long life, it was a full one. It was a productive one. It was one that made an impact. This young man, Stephen, lived his life in service for the Lord.
God was clearly at work in the church of the first century. Miracles were happening. People were coming to Christ. In the midst of this, Stephen was brought up on false charges before the religious authority, the Sanhedrin. Their word was law. When they made a decision that was it. If Stephen had been a little more evasive or at least careful, he may have left in time for dinner. But he was neither. It is unlikely Stephen had a death wish, and although he probably knew what the outcome would be, he stood up for Christ. You can read his answer to the charges in Acts 7.
In Acts 7: 57-58 their response to Stephen’s speech: “Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.” We are told that “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” (Acts 7:55). What a glorious moment that must have been.
Choosing to learn to live a Christ-centered life, even if it isn’t the life you had imagined, is the best choice you will ever make. It won’t be easy, but you intentionally chose to let Jesus be the source of your joy, even in the midst of less-than-joyful circumstances.
Yes, Stephen’s life was short, but it was full. He lived it well. And that is all we can do.
One day we will stand before God and give an account of what we have done with our lives for Him. Make each day count. Live it for the glory of God. Live your life well.
- What is a lived well life mean to you?
- What changes would you need to make your life a well lived life?