Qualities for Mission
Lord, I dedicate this day to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. Help me, I pray.
Read Acts 17:1-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:6,7).
One of the qualities which mission demands of us is flexibility. Paul understood that he had been called to preach to the Gentiles but that did not override his concern for his own people, the Jews, and even in pagan cities his starting point was usually the synagogue (2). Our foremost calling is to follow Christ, and while we need to steward our time and energy carefully, we mustn’t be too choosy about who we minister to. Proclaiming Christ is our central task, whether we do it to young or old, to people from our own culture or to those from other backgrounds.
Another quality demonstrated here is patience. Even though Paul’s time in Thessalonica was shorter than his extended stays in other places, such as one and a half years in Corinth (18:11), his proclamation wasn’t hurried. He went to the synagogue on three Sabbath days, taking time to “[reason] with them from the Scriptures” (2,3). Evangelism may be urgent but it is not usually quick. Undue haste can limit its effectiveness severely. Here Paul’s patience was rewarded when Jews and Greeks joined him (4).
Whether it came through bitter experience or not, Paul was resilient in the face of opposition. His proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah who suffered was enough to disturb some of the Jews (5), but when they brought him to the city officials, the accusation was that he claimed that Jesus was king (7). Perhaps the ability to tailor the accusation to the particular judge was something they had learned from Jesus’ own accusers (Luke 23:1,2). However, the motive of people who oppose the message is not always as straightforward as it seems. Luke says that the real reason for the opposition of some of the Jews was neither theological nor a concern for Caesar (7)—it was simple jealousy (5).
What do you see as your main area of ministry? Are there other needs and opportunities which you should be considering?
Father, give me discernment and wisdom as I share my faith with others. I trust in the fact that You give the gift of faith.
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