Lovingly said

We are studying Ancient Greece right now in our homeschool.  Yesterday we read Acts 17, where Paul traveled to Athens.  When he arrived, his spirit was troubled when he saw that the city was given over to idols.  He went into the synagogue and the marketplace to tell people about Jesus, but it says that they called him a babbler and some said he was proclaiming foreign gods to them.

He was the outsider there, coming in and trying to change traditions and customs that were born into them.  As we have studied in our history lessons, the Greeks were devout in the worship of their gods.  They held festivals and offered sacrifices.  Temples were all around them, and their lives centered around the gods and goddesses in which they believed.  In fact, the very first Olympics was a festival to honor the god Zeus!

What I love is what Paul did next.  In Acts 17:22, Paul was standing in the midst of the Areopagus.  This was the council, the court of justice, the leaders of Athens.  He addressed them with respect and compliments.  He said, “I perceive that in all things you are very religious.”

It was true.  They were SO religious.  They could not have been more religious.  Their spiritual disciplines were very evident.  And Paul recognized this.  He continued, “For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:  TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”

From there, Paul told them about the God they did not know.

He never insulted them.  He never belittled them or put them down.  He never made them feel like they were idiots or the worst sinners in the world.  Here they were, worshiping false gods, and Paul showed them respect and treated them with dignity.  He then told them about God, who made the world and everything in it.

You with me?  I believe he allowed the Holy Spirit guide him, so he came to them in love, and with respect.  Now, some mocked him.  Some said they wanted to hear more later.  And some believed!

In love, Paul did what God asked him to do.  That’s all he had to do.  It wasn’t up to Paul to make them believe.  It was only up to him to obey God by spreading the gospel.  Likewise, it is only up to us to spread the truth, but let’s do so with love.  Let’s model the example of this courageous missionary who stood before the Greeks, and be respectful and loving and spread the truth, in love.

Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God will be saved.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

jamie

Where’s the faithful man?

Pr. 20:6:  “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

I read a chapter in a book to my kids yesterday and, after I finished, I asked them what happened.  My daughter gave a quick answer, but my son was distracted and didn’t appear to be prepared to speak.  I asked him a question about it and, after pretending to think about the answer, he said he didn’t remember.  I asked him some specific questions about the story about things that would have stood out, and found out that he had not been listening at all…for the entire chapter!!  Grrrrr.  I was pretty frustrated.

Now what?  Was I to read the entire chapter over just for him?  Skip it and just recap it for him?  Make him read it on his own?  (It’s way above his “grade level” but that could be a good reminder for him)  Or perhaps I should just give up on that book entirely since it obviously didn’t grab his attention?  Anyway…

I was so frustrated at that moment that I decided it would be best if we moved on to another school subject.  I would decide what to do about the book later, but I was stewing on the inside.

Boy did he throw off my vibe for the day and my plans for our book reading time.  Why couldn’t he just listen?  Why didn’t I just make him sit beside me like I usually did?  So many questions.  So much stewing.  Why couldn’t he just be perfect, right?  haha!

How many times have my kids tried to talk to me and I’ve been doing something else and giving them half of my attention?  How many times have they told me all about something they’ve been working hard on in Minecraft and, while I “listened” to them enough to appease them, I couldn’t repeat it to you now if I had to because it didn’t really matter to me?

I know I’m not the only one.  We are all guilty of things like this.  When we see the faults in others, we compare their faults to our strengths.  That’s not really fair, is it?  Like this verse says, we all proclaim our own goodness, but not one of us are faithful.  Not 100%.  We are all just doing the best we can.

It’s good that we know who we are in Christ and that we have confidence in ourselves.  It’s when we start thinking ourselves better than those around us that we begin to err.  We have no business comparing ourselves with others…especially not fault to strength.  We each have our faults and we each have our strengths.  That’s why we work so well together as ‘the body’ of Christ; each having our own part to play.

Today is a new day.  My son will be sitting beside me today as we read, but my understanding cap is on and we will get through this together.

Team building,

jamie