Knowing the One in our midstOne of our members moved his business into new premises and asked me to come and pray with him and his staff shortly after they had settled in. As I sat in the Board Room waiting for the staff to gather, I was struck by the significance of what I was being asked to do? The simple act of reading scripture and praying in a place of business vividly reminded all present that God is with us, no matter where we are. Too easily do we relegate God and all things spiritual to a few hours on a Sunday morning and a perhaps a prayer before we head out on weekdays. God is in the world! He is with us everywhere and every moment. In fact, this is exactly what I landed up sharing with the staff of that business. That my being there was not to 'bring God' to them, but simply to recognise his presence with us already and help us be mindful of God and his ways and love for us... Everyday.
Ironically, the problem that Paul faced in the first century Roman world, and in Athens in particular, was not a division between the sacred (spiritual/Sundays) and the secular (business/weekdays) as my story illustrates, because the people of that time were very spiritual. Rather, the problem was an ignorance of the purpose and character of God. Paul walks around in Athens and sees gods everywhere, even an idol to an 'UNKNOWN GOD' (just in case they missed one :-)) and uses this spiritual hunger amongst the people to tell them about who God really is and what he is up to in the world. Acts 17:24 is the start of that explanation and Paul's first point is that God wants us to know him. Not, to know ABOUT him, but to know HIM personally. And he tells them that it is possible because God is not far from them, he is in their midst already.
Paul's task was to introduce the Athenians to a personal God who loves, and he cleverly used something from their everyday lives that his hearers could connect with.
What opportunities are there in your life, every day, where you are able to help people, firstly, to recognize the presence of God in their world and, secondly, to connect with this God who wants us to seek him and know him and love him? Keep on the lookout. You may be surprised what you can use to share with others the good news of God's love for the world.
|The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts17:24-27)|
Chris Judelsohn is minister at Midchurch (Midrand Presbyterian Church), married to Keryn with 3 children -- Rachael, Emma and Nathan. He loves being part of God's work of proclaiming and building God's Kingdom and also finds a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee irresistible. (Chris is also the past convener of Mission and Discipleship)