The Joy of Stephen
Value: Blessed are those who are persecuted
Julie and Phillip were always a little nervous when their Daddy took them with him to share Jesus door to
door in town. But daddy always loved to do it so they went to learn how. Usually the Assistant Pastor from
their church went along. Mostly people were nice and sometimes invited them in and sometimes the Pastor
or Daddy would pray with the people to accept Jesus and that was really exciting.
One time though a man answered the door who wasnâ€™t from our country. His skin was darker and he
wore one of those turban things on his head. And when daddy shared about Jesus, the man got really mad
and started yelling and seemed like he was going to come out and hurt daddy so the Pastor excused them
from the man and they went to a bench nearby in the apartment complex.
â€œWhat was wrong with that man Daddy? Why did he have that hat on his head?â€ Phillip asked
â€œThat is a man God loves just like he loves you and me Phillip. Now letâ€™s pray for him.â€ And they
did right there on the bench and they all felt better.
That night Daddy explained that the man was from another religion so he just didnâ€™t understand that
they were there to give him eternal life. â€œBut Daddy,â€ Phillip interrupted. â€œIt seemed like he wanted
to hurt us. Does that mean what we were doing was wrong?â€
â€œKids do remember the story of Stephen in the Bible?â€ Daddy said and before they knew it, Daddy was
telling them the story. Daddy was an amazing storyteller because he was able to make Julie and Phillip feel
like they were right there in the story.
â€œWhere are we Daddy?â€ Phillip shook his head looking around at the huge crowd of what seemed to be
really angry people. Phillip and Julie felt their Daddy holding onto their hands as he took them right into the
bible story he was telling.
â€œWe are in the story, Phillip. These people are all angry with Stephen. See over there?â€
The children worked their way between the legs of the shouting people and then they saw him. Standing
apart from the crowd, dressed all in white. â€œPhillip!â€ Julie whispered. â€œThatâ€™s Stephen, just like
â€œKids over here.â€ They heard their Daddy whisper and they ran to him knelt between some people
â€œWhy are they all so mad Daddy?â€ Asked Julie a little scared and nervous for Stephen.
â€œThey donâ€™t want him to share about Jesus, sweetie.â€ Her Daddy answered.
â€œDaddy, he doesnâ€™t even look scared. I would be SO scared if everybody was mad at me.â€ Phillip
said watching Stephen with amazement.
â€Can you hear what he is saying kids?â€ Daddy whispered and they listened close.
â€œHe is praising Jesus Daddy.â€ Julie finally said. â€œHe is thanking Jesus that he is going to be able to
suffer and die for God. Daddy I donâ€™t understand.â€ She said sobbing a little bit.
â€œWell honey, Jesus died for us so itâ€™s a privilege to go through those things for him. Stephen is full
of the Holy Ghost so he isnâ€™t suffering at all. See his face, itâ€™s full of joy. Thatâ€™s what the Holy
Spirit does when we go through hard things for Jesus. He replaces the fear and pain with joy and praise.
Come on, we better get back, Mommy will have supper ready soon.â€
As they moved to the back of the crowd, Julie saw a wrap that looked like it belonged to Stephen. She
reached to pick it up but an older boy picked it up first. She looked him in the eyes.
â€œWhy are you crying?â€ She asked the boy.
â€œI have always hated Christians, little girlâ€ the boy said. â€œBut Stephen has so much joy. The joy of
Stephen makes me somehow want that in my heart.â€
Back home at the supper table they told Mommy all about their adventure. â€œWell, Julie, who was that
boy you talked to before you came home.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know Mommy. He said his name was Saul of Tarsus.â€ They didnâ€™t talk about it any
more but Mommy and Daddy exchanged knowing smiles and both knew that Daddy would be taking the
children on another journey to find out more about how this Saul boy turned out.