Philip felt God pull on his heart and he knew he had to leave. He went down and he met a man who was reading an old Jewish scroll. Philip taught the man about Jesus, about the sacrifice that was made, about grace, new life, about baptism and following Jesus. The man’s response was, here is some water, I’d better get baptized.
As a scholar, this story excites me. For so many reasons there are so many little nuggets of awesome hidden in this little text. As an introvert, this scares and annoys me. Philip went to some random dude, from some random place, walked right on up to him and started telling him about Jesus. He didn’t invite him over for coffee. He didn’t get to know him. He simply saw a man who was searching for God and he showed him where to go.
I think we need this kind of courage in our church. Not the blazing, blind, fire at will with gospel tracts and memorized chants about Romans road, but a courage to seize a clear opportunity. I try to be respectful of those who pass out gospel literature. I try not to judge those who leave tracts shaped like bills for their servers instead of an actual tip (you’re a jerk if that’s you). And I’m definitely not advocating we go on a door to door witness night.
What I am saying, though, is I wish we had more of the courage to see the opportunities God has placed before us. This man was reading about Jesus, he was looking for something. He was searching for meaning. Philip had the courage and the faith to show that man where true hope and meaning came from. I wonder if we would do the same sometimes.
Would we instead tell them we go to church and they should come too? Would we hand them an invite card and hope to see them the next few weeks? Would we try to invite them over for coffee? These are all good things but I have to wonder if the moment came, how many of us who follow Jesus would be ready and willing to actually talk about that faith? How many of us could “give an answer” as the Bible tells us to be able to do? Would we be ready to share our faith or do we hope and rely solely on our pastor to do it?