Carrying the Message

Acts 8:26-31, 35-39 (NRSV)
“Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him… Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’s He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philipt baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.”

Many of us have family members who are not saved. I know that I do—some who are very dear to me and for whom I pray daily. Day after day prayers… after awhile it is sometimes difficult to know what to pray. So the other day I began to pray for those Christians around my family members, that the Christians would have the courage the wisdom to speak boldly to those I love.
And suddenly it hit me! I am “those Christians” around someone else’s family members. You know, I take the offices of the Church very seriously. Ephesians 4 talks about the five offices (some churches believe in four offices): “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (v. 11-12 NRSV). And I know that I am clearly not an evangelist (someone who tells others about the Lord). If I lean in any direction, it may be as a prophet or teacher. But I also know that all of us are commanded to be witnesses to the gospel. And now I need to take that admonition even more seriously.
Paul told us, in Ephesians to “bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2 NRSV). I believe that when we go out of our way to minister to the unsaved around us, we are bearing the burdens of the Christians who are praying for those people. We all know that those closest to us usually don’t listen to us. I never cease to be amazed at my husband in this regard. I can talk to him about something over and over again and he often ignores it.But let someone else tell him, and he thinks it’s the greatest idea in the world! I think there is some of that in all of us. And if that is true, then we likely have the least amount of influence on those for whom we care the most! Of course, we can—and should—pray for those dear ones daily. But it may be that anything we say will fall on deaf eyes. But we can pray that God will send other believers in their path and we can become those “other believers” to the unsaved that cross our paths each day.
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Copyright 2008-2011 by Robin L. O’Hare.
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
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