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Daily Devotionals

Day 68 – Issue 38

todayMay 1, 2015 10

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Be Still Know

Acts 17.22-23 NLT

Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’

Paul must have been delighted to get an opportunity to speak to the council, which was known as the Areopagus. This was a highly respected body and brought together the leading thinkers of Athenian society. I love the graciousness and sensitivity of Paul’s approach to them. He wanted to build a bridge with these learned people. He observed that he had been looking around the city and noticed that they were very religious. They would have loved that. But he goes further, remarking that he had come upon one particular altar which was “To an Unknown God.” I am sure that his hearers were flattered by the care with which Paul had surveyed the situation and they were all ears.

If we are to speak compellingly to our society, we too need to build a bridge. I took a while to recognise this. I recall coming upon a booklet in my mid-teens which told me all the shortcomings of the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was fascinated and decided that I should try to remember as much of it as possible so that when they next visited I could defeat them with all the excellent points made in the booklet. The day came. I knew they were Jehovah’s Witnesses as soon as they walked towards the house and I launched quickly into my carefully prepared attack. It won’t be a surprise to you that I was completely unsuccessful. Attacking people, however wrong they may be, is never a way of building a relationship! Paul’s sensitive approach didn’t for a moment mean that he watered down his message. He simply ensured that what he said made sense to his hearers. Having built a bridge, he was then able to get to the core of his message and he urged his hearers to repent. We have much to learn from this. Most people in our society have not a single clue about the Christian message and we need to communicate by starting where they are if we are ever to share the Good News of Jesus effectively.

Question: How could Paul’s approach help us as we share the Good News?

Prayer: Loving God help us to speak relevantly and clearly to our society. Amen

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Written by: Matt Weet

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