Recently in my 1-year bible study plan (Yes, I’m keeping with it!), I have entered into the book of Acts. I’ve already read most of the New Testament before, however this book I never actually got to. When I was a “baby Christian” a few years ago, I wanted to feed my soul with what most of us want to be fed with: Matthew-John, Romans –Revelations. I skipped right over Acts and told myself I’d eventually get into it when I got done reading “all the good stuff”. Well, I’m to it now, and I have to say it is definitely part of the good stuff (and of course the rest of the bible is still good stuff too!). If you haven’t read Acts, it’s pretty much all about how the disciples grew the new faith of Christianity after Jesus was taken back up into heaven. It’s a book that highlights missions and what that means, and it’s fascinating and seriously encouraging to those wanting to further the ministry. “Missionaries” can look to this book and mold how they want to spread the good news.
Well, as I was reading the other day, I came to the last passage in Acts 8. Philip was being led by God to Gaza, but on his way he encountered an “Ethiopian eunuch” (a very high official in the society) who was traveling back home from Jerusalem. Philip noticed that he was reading scripture and the Holy Spirit asked him to go and talk to the guy. So he walks up to the guy and asks such a bold question. He says “Do you understand what you are reading?”. I mean, that’s a bold question! Imagine someone from a different religion walking up to you while you are reading the bible and asking you if you even know what the heck that thing is talking about. But I very strongly believe that the Holy Spirit wasn’t only guiding his heart but his mouth as well and God knew exactly how to get to the heart of this man. The Ethiopian immediately opens up to this stranger and responds “How can I unless someone explains it to me?”. Wow. Let that sink in. If you continue to read, the Ethiopian converts to Christianity after Philip takes the time to teach him what he believes and why.
Why is that question so powerful? That single question motivates me to get up every morning and put a smile on my face even when I don’t want to. It makes me want to talk to strangers who don’t yet know Jesus and invest my time in them. That question expresses need that every day we as believers neglect. Someone out there is trying to know Jesus and to understand the Bible and talk to God, but they just don’t know how. I’m a believer in missions and going to other countries and teaching people who know NOTHING about Jesus, but I’m also a huge believer in reaching out to those who pass along our very own path who are crying out for help on the inside. To a normal passer-by, this man probably seemed pretty put-together. The guy is reading scripture! Who would have every thought he of all people needed saving? Unless someone invested some time into him, they may never see the front he had put up.
I know I have talked a good deal about missionaries lately, but I just want to hit home the fact that you don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary. You can start right here, right now. If you aren’t just telling people about Jesus through words, but actions, you are a missionary. I encourage you to see those in need and look for those who may only have a need on the inside. Someone who maybe looks like they have it all together may be the one that is falling apart.
Romans 12:12-13 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”