Monday, June 10, 2019
…there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’ Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
I recently read an impactful story in a book entitled, Sixty Founders, about a movement that took place in England during the middle of the 19th century.
It was believed at that time that children couldn’t understand enough theology to be genuinely converted, so children were never evangelized. But a young man named Payson Hammond disagreed, and he convinced a pastor in West London to let him hold special meetings for children. He posted fliers all over London, and astonishingly over a thousand people showed up to the first meeting.
During the assembly, Hammond placed the children in the main body of the auditorium and sat the adults in the rear. He chose hymns with simple words and set them to bright, cheerful tunes. He prayed using language they could understand. He illustrated the Bible with stories that interested them and even asked them questions of application. After the last hymn, he invited children to stay behind for counseling, and many of them professed faith in Christ.
Have you ever tried witnessing to someone who had little to no knowledge of Scripture? It requires patience, doesn’t it? You can’t reach them with your own theological terminology. You have to slow down and meet them where they are.
The Ethiopian eunuch is a man with the theological understanding of a little child. He hadn’t grown up in synagogue school. He had no formal training in the Old Testament Scriptures. He was trying to understand the narrative, but was unable on his own to grasp the prophecy of a suffering Messiah. God, in His mercy, sends Philip to teach him.
Philip could have complained. He could have seen this assignment as an interruption to his real ministry. After all, he had served as a deacon in the very first church and had seen the Holy Spirit descend at Pentecost. He effectively ministered and preached to crowds of attentive listeners in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8).But instead of letting his current success blind him to the needs of one man, he hopped in this stranger’s chariot and explained to him the meaning behind Isaiah’s prophecy.
What an amazing legacy God began that day. Fast forward a few years later in church history and you’ll discover that the first major national church movement took place in North Africa, led by this same Ethiopian statesman. He had been converted and baptized. So moved by his encounter with the gospel, that he went back to his country and told everyone he could about Jesus.
The legacy of the gospel continues to this day through believers who carry on the testimony of Philip . . . and Payson Hammond. Simply make yourself available to those in need spiritual guidance. Keep planting seeds in people’s lives as you patiently lead them to a deeper knowledge and understanding of Jesus.
You won’t just pave the way for them. You will pave the way for future generations as well.
Prayer Point: Is there a specific person in your church who is being overlooked? Perhaps even an entire demographic? Maybe God has pointed out the problem to you because He wants you to be a pioneer and provide the solution! Pray for wisdom and strength as you roll up your sleeves and prepare to blaze a trail in their lives!
Extra Refreshment: One of the greatest biblical examples of a man who responded to God’s tugging at his heart is Nehemiah. Read his honest words of conviction and compassion in Nehemiah chapter 1, and let them inspire you to follow his example.