Monday, April 30
Immersing Ourselves in the Mission Field
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Paul was well into his travels by now. He was preaching the word to all who would listen. But he did more than travel and preach. Paul invested himself in the lives of the people he was preaching to. He worked along side them, becoming their neighbor, their co-worker, their mentor, their friend. When he upset the Jews that did not want to hear what he had to say, God protected him from the government officials. By immersing himself in the culture, he was able to do what no traveling salesman could do. He touched the hearts and minds of many who needed his long-invested presence in their lives.
Sometimes when we embark in an adventure of mission or ministry, we think we can stay above the muck and mire of the daily living of the people we are ministering "to." But often we find that, when we open ourselves to immersing ourselves in the lives of the people we encounter, we are equally touched by the ministry they bring to us. When we become neighbors, co-workers, and friends instead of teachers, then we also become learners, and we are also ministered "to." We can do far more in this world by immersing ourselves, heart and soul, in our mission field, which is often just outside our front door.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 18:1-17
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together—by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.” He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, “This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.” Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.” And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.