“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. “
– 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)
Faithful servants never retire, you can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God.
– Rick Warren
Friday, March 17, 2023
If Paul had been thinking like the typical 21st-century churchgoer, he might have put the gospel on a back burner and tried to find a way to pander to the social media trends and opinions of ‘influencers’ before proclaiming the gospel in a culture where most people clearly thought the message was both foolish and deeply offensive.
But Paul didn’t do that. He went directly from Thessalonica to Berea and preached in the synagogue there (Acts 17:10). When some hooligans followed him from Thessalonica and tried to provoke the citizens of Berea to riot, Paul moved on to Athens (Acts 17:15), where yet again he took the gospel to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He also proclaimed the gospel in the Athenian marketplace during the week (Acts 17:17), stirring both interest and controversy there, too.
Acts 17 goes on to recount how Paul was summoned to speak to the elite minds of Athens at the Areopagus — the gathering place of philosophers and intellectuals. It was not because he had won their respect, but practically the opposite: The philosophers thought he would make an amusing diversion — perhaps an easy target for some highbrow scorn. “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” (Acts 17:18).
The apostle was himself an educated man, well-versed in the philosophies and ancient writings of the Athenians.
But Paul did not try to wow the erudite Athenians with abstract philosophical arguments or elegant oratory. He began by declaring to them that their religious beliefs were rooted in ignorance and all wrong. He announced that “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31).
In other words, Paul preached Christ.
Paul stayed on the message. Despite intense opposition (up to and including the real potential of violent resistance), he never downplayed or deviated from the gospel.
This is what we are called to do and represent to our world too. The viewpoint of Christ. Don’t get sidetracked by politics, entertainment, or socio-economics to forget your purpose. After the dust settles, your evaluation will be based on what you preached, Christ, or your personal agenda?
May we have the same single-mindedness and courage that Paul had.
LET US PRAY:
Heavenly Father, strengthen my faith and open my mouth to speak the gospel boldly to members of my family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and community.
Help me to stay focused on the message of Christ and not be sucked in by the politricks, fun, and economic hustle.
May my life reflect the truth of the gospel.
Give me grace and fill my heart with compassion as you conform me to the image of your Son, the Lord Jesus.
In Jesus. Name. Amen.
(Kindly share with someone today)