at caesarea there was a man named cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the italian cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. [acts 10:1-2]
at the beginning of this story we see three things about this man, a gentile, roman, centurion.
he feared God
a man whom others fear, this man fears the Lord. with the centurion in matthew chapter 8, [he] too [is] a man under authority, with soldiers under [him]. And [he says] to one, ‘go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘come,’ and he comes, and to [his] servant, ‘do this,’ and he does it. (mt. 8:9) this man understands authority because he also has it, and understands what it is to fear the Lord, because others also fear his authority.
he gave alms generously to the people
as a centurion, he had access no no small amount of money; also as a centurion, he had no earthly authority in place obliging him to give generously. it would have been easy for him to withhold. we see the Spirit’s work in him through this as well.
he prayed continually to God
this man didn’t just pray, he prayed continually. we’ve heard this taught, but there’s all sorts of things we do continually instead. instead of praying continually, we work continually; we worry continually; we procrastinate continually. we see here a man whose thoughts, resources, and time are spent continually abiding in the vibe of Christ.
what a God we serve!
Lord, teach us to fear you, give generously with our time and money, and pray continually. our flesh cannot do this, but we believe your Spirit can achieve it! we submit ourselves to you: fill us with your Spirit!
~ stephen hall