Acts 17:16-21, 32-34

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed…


Paul (and friends) continued to share the good news to the nations – in Thessalonica, in Berea and in Athens.  They encountered different circumstances in each new territory but they remained faithful and obedient – steadfast in their mission to share the gospel. 


Two things I grabbed from this…

We’ve all got a dog in the fight for salvation…even if ours has already been won. 

  • In verse 16, we learn that Athens is filled with idols – which distressed Paul. But he didn’t sit and wait silently or idly or in judgment; no, he “reasoned” everywhere he went.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in the Midwest.  And, for some reason, as I read this, what popped in my brain was a bunch of elderly women in their “Sunday best” talking about how the world is “going to hell in a hand basket” as they shared the most recent gossip…but never taking the time to show God’s love, to actively care for the people they were gossiping about or “reason” with the unbelievers.

I’d like to be different.  Perhaps it takes a little more energy and ingenuity, perhaps I’ll be seen as weird or too nice or whatever…but I want to be someone who DOES something where I see God (and the things of God) being squeezed out by worldly distraction or obsession.  After all, as Christians, we’ve all got the same purpose here on this earth – to know God and make Him known.      

Robin said it best yesterday – God provides the ability, our part is availability.

  • In verses 20, 32 and 34, we see that – while Paul made himself available – some people were curious, some sneered and some believed and followed. It wasn’t Paul’s responsibility to make people believe or follow…just to be available and obedient and, as a result, people were saved!    

Life Application

God, thank you.  I’m consistently overwhelmed that you choose ME/US to partner with.  That YOU – the creator of all heaven and earth love us enough to pursue us and to use us to share your love with those around us.  Thank you for your heart and make mine more like yours…that I may see people through your eyes.  Show me the people you want me to speak to TODAY, give me the words, tell me where to go…may I be at your disposal.  In your name, I pray.  Amen. 

– Rei

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