Hunkered Down Devotion

Acts 16:11-15 (Voice)
11 We set sail from the port city of Troas, first stopping in Samothrace, then the next day in Neapolis, 12 finally arriving in Philippi, a Roman colony and one of Macedonia’s leading cities. We stayed in Philippi for several days. 13 On the Sabbath day, we went outside the city walls to the nearby river, assuming that some Jewish people might be gathering for prayer. We found a group of women there, so we sat down and spoke to them. 14 One of them, Lydia, was a business woman originally from Thyatira. She made a living buying and selling fine purple fabric. She was a true worshiper of God and listened to Paul with special interest. The Lord opened her heart to take in the message with enthusiasm. 15 She and her whole household were ceremonially washed through baptism.
Lydia: If you believe I’m truly faithful to the Lord, please, you must come and stay at my home.
We couldn’t turn down her invitation.

If we were able to poll Christians from throughout the ages, I believe we would find that evangelism – the idea of sharing and talking to others about your faith has always been an intimidating prospect.  At the same time, I don’t think any of us that are seeking to follow Jesus doubt that we have all been called to do just that.  

I will let you in on a little secret.  Evangelism can be intimidating, even for us pastors.  Sure, we can pray, teach, and preach – and in all of those ways talk about Jesus and our faith, but on a one on one basis, with a friend or acquaintance, that kind of vulnerability is intimidating for all of us.  

Part of what makes the prospect of sharing our faith fear-inducing is that it requires honesty and vulnerability from us, but it is also because it means beginning something, investing in it, without knowing exactly how things are going to turn out.  Birthdays aside, most of us don’t really like or appreciate surprises in our lives and entering into this kind of conversation with someone is certainly unpredictable.

Careful attention to this passage may go a long way towards making us at least a little more comfortable living into the call to share the Good News.  First, Paul is a wonderful example of what a faithful response to God’s call is: He doesn’t know why he is going to Macedonia, he doesn’t know who he is going to meet, he just knows God has told him to go – and so he goes.

Even more importantly, though, is this passage reminds us of an important truth when it comes to evangelism.  Our job isn’t to convince or ‘win’ people to Jesus.  Rather, we are simply called to share the Good News, to communicate honestly the difference God’s grace, love, and mercy have made in our lives and leave the rest to God.

In our Acts passage, Paul is faithfully responding to God’s call, having gone where he was told to go in the dream, but he didn’t have magic words to offer, he didn’t have a perfectly crafted intellectual argument.  Listen carefully to what happened as he shared his faith with Lydia: The Lord opened her heart to take in the message with enthusiasm.

Our job is simply to faithfully follow God’s call and go where the Spirit leads.  Wherever we find ourselves we are to share the Good News of what Christ has done for us and let Jesus worry about the rest.
Sharing God’s Love, 

Prayer:  Lord, give us the courage to follow you and to tell of what you have done for us.  Amen.  

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