Paul’s Not So Famous Discussions

Acts 17 is a fairly famous story of the Apostle Paul.  In it, he is in Athens, and goes to the Areopagus, a building in town where people would debate and discuss philosophy and ideas.  It was a prestigious and important place, not just in that town, but in the world.  It would be something like Yale or Harvard for us today.  Great thinkers having great thoughts and debates.  Anyway, Paul gives a famous explanation of Jesus and the Gospel in that chapter that is powerful, creative, and moving.  It’s often used as a model by modern preachers and teachers in the church.  If you haven’t read it, it’s a part of our Amazing Race reading for today, and you really ought to stop right here, grab your Bible, and read it.

As I read that chapter today, I noticed that Paul had been in Athens for days, talking to people on the street corners and in the local churches.  He had multiple conversations with anyone who would listen about Jesus.  Then, after a while, he was invited to the Areopagus by the people there.  I have to admit, I never noticed this detail.  I’ve always kind of pictured him hanging out at the Aeropagus, walking around, looking at the statues, and suddenly breaking out into this amazing sermon on his own, and people listening because they were so amazed.

That is not what happens.  He is asked to come, and speaks out of that invitation.  It’s the day-to-day conversations with people in shops and on the bench in the street in the days leading up to this that get him there.  He isn’t angling to get to the Areopagus during those conversations.  He’s just sharing with anyone he talks to.  God opens the door to do the rest on His own.

So, what about us?  Are we being faithful to talk to the person on the assembly line next to us?  The barista at Starbucks?  The kids in our home?  The person is 5th period science?  Not in a preachy, annoying way.  Just talking, asking questions, listening, and being faithful?  If we’re not, who is God ever going to send to the “Areopagus” in our lives?  We have to be faithful in the day-to-day life stuff to be used beyond.

It tends to lead us to a few questions:  Who do you need to talk to today?  Are you willing to do it?  Will you take the chance?

Paul did, and we’re still talking about it.

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