What's in front of you?
As I have been reading through the book of Acts, I had an opportunity to reflect on a familiar story in a new way. Read Acts 8:26-40.
As some of the followers of Jesus are scattered from Jerusalem due to pressure from the religious authority, we find Philip having this incredible encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. Before this encounter can happen, Philip must first obey the Holy Spirit’s directions to go south to a road. Philip finds himself in an uncertain place. I think I have missed the subtlety of this in past readings. He is not given much, just a general direction. When Philip encounters the Eunuch and crew on the road, he is given another set of directions: “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Okay, now what? No other instruction is told to us, but Philip seems to know what to do next. He helps the Eunuch interpret the scripture he is reading and then explains who Jesus is in the context of the scripture. Philip is primarily obedient to head in the right direction and be in the right place.
If we camp on this and not move on too quickly to the result of the eunuch being baptized, we are reminded and perhaps challenged in the way we evangelize. Philip is willing to walk into uncertainty and even position himself in humility alongside or behind the carriage to see what opportunity God might have placed in front of him. Philip then asks questions and responds to the Ethiopian's questions.
Some questions I will be asking myself in response to this are…
- When am I too proud to even place myself in a position to listen well?
- Do I ask good questions?
- Do I care for the people I am engaged with?
- Am I obedient to the Holy Spirit’s lead even when it seems unclear?
I am excited to continue to be part of a great church that is passionate about impacting the community in which it exists!