Friday August 26
Further Thought: Read Deuteronomy 15:11, Job 29:11-17, Proverbs 14:31, 19:17, Acts 3:6, James 1:27-2:5; Ellen G. White, “Pioneering in Australia,” pp. 327-338, in Welfare Ministry. Paul, like Jesus, was involved in meeting the expressed needs of people. We can see this, for example, in the famous story of Paul at Mars Hill in Athens. In Acts 17:23, Paul, provoked by the idolatry that he saw in the city, engaged in lively discussions with the local intelligentsia and anyone in the marketplace who would talk with him. He became aware of their needs and issues. He discovered that they had an unknown-God-shaped hole in their lives and that they needed to know the true God and to stop worshiping useless idols. He then began to preach in the synagogue, where both Jews and “Gentile worshipers” (Acts 17:17, NKJV) were. In other words, he took advantage of the opportunity he had and reached out with the gospel. Paul sought to meet them where they were, as we can see by how he talked to the people when at the synagogue and in the street. The masses believed in some kind of deity, because they had built an altar to “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). Working from that premise, Paul sought to point them to the God “ ‘whom you worship without knowing’ ” (Acts 17:23, NKJV). He even later quoted one of their own poets, who happened to have written something true: “ ‘ “We are also His offspring” ’ ” (Acts 17:28, NKJV). Starting from where the people were, he wanted to lead them away from their idols to the living God and Jesus, raised from the dead. In short, assessing the needs of those whom he wanted to reach, Paul then tried to help fulfill those needs.
- “He who taught the people the way to secure peace and happiness was just as thoughtful of their temporal necessities as of their spiritual need.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 365. What important message is given to us here in regard to why we should minister to the needs of others?
- Why do we, when thinking about outreach, have to be careful not to forget what our ultimate goal is? What is that ultimate goal? Give reasons for your answer.
- How can we learn to view some interruptions not as annoyances but as sacred opportunities for ministry? How does Galatians 2:20 help us in this area?