Our verse for today comes from Acts 13:51, “But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.”
The month of May is a time of strange bedfellows. On the one hand is the return of the smell of cut grass, the young growth of vegetable gardens, and the joyful celebrations of Mother’s Day. On the other is the end. Today my two youngest take their end of year tests for school, yesterday my daughter completed her final exam of the semester, and this weekend we brought home my son as a graduate of college. And my best friend, himself a high school English teacher, will be presenting a tribute he wrote to the head of the department who is retiring after 33 years of teaching. Even Mother’s Day, with all its deserved attention on the beloved and tireless moms from the generally under-appreciative children of all ages, has an aspect of finality as the mothers who have passed away are remembered and honored by the families that miss them so much.
But we learn early on, or at least our moms try to teach us then, that the end of something is generally simply the beginning of something else. When your life seems to be wrecked as you pack up and move away from your neighborhood and friends that were your entire world, you soon land in a spot where new friends await and a different setting brings with it new opportunities and new excitement. Fortunately, for hopefully all of us, we did not experience the trauma of being run out of town when we left behind one address for another. Our upheaval, with all the uncertainties and anxieties it brought, did not also carry with it the weight of rejection and anger of a crowd who wanted to end all that we were about.
But even as such was the case for Paul and Barnabas, their end in Antioch did not crush them. Though every person of position and influence persecuted them to where they were eventually driven from the area, Paul and Barnabas simply shook off the dust of their town from their feet, a sign of separation and rejection of their foolish and tragic behavior. And once done, they immediately set their sights on their next stop. The end was but another beginning, and they met it with joy and the Holy Spirit. The same is yours, whether at the end, beginning, or somewhere in between. Meet it with the anticipation of knowing God is already there.
As we seek Him today, let this day be just the beginning or ending that Jesus has for you.