“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official…The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’” Acts 8:26-27a, 29
A few years ago, I was on my way to visit a new couple who had visited our church. It was a Monday night and after preaching three times the day before, I was tired and began complaining to God. “This is way too far to drive – why am I wasting my time? These people aren’t going to come all this way to our church.”
Eventually, I arrived and as soon as we sat down the husband asked how he could become a Christian. Stunned, I silently asked God to forgive my attitude and to help me not mess up this opportunity! In spite of my sorry attitude before the visit, the man became a Christian that very night. Sometimes God asks us to trust Him, even when we’re tired or it doesn’t make sense. The question is will we listen?
Philip was a very gifted teacher and evangelist in the early days of the church. As he traveled and shared the story of Jesus Christ, people responded. Suddenly, right in the middle of great crowds coming to Christ, God asked Philip to leave and take a trip along a 60-mile desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. If I were Philip, it would have been easy to question God. How could he leave NOW with so much happening? Nobody lives in the desert. But Philip trusted God and left.
Sure enough, he ran into a very influential Ethiopian man reading from the book of Isaiah. Not only that, but this man was reading the prophecy of Jesus’ death on the cross written more than 700 years before Christ (Isaiah 53). Talk about a God-orchestrated meeting! Feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit, Philip walked over to the man and began a conversation that would lead him to Christ. That man became the first African believer. Talk about significant; he even became the first one to take the gospel to a whole continent. Wow!
It’s rare to stumble into a situation when someone is so ready to accept the Gospel, yet the question we have to ask ourselves is: Are we paying attention? Will we recognize the nudge of the Holy Spirit to move, to act, and to share? Or are we too focused on our individual lives, our schedule and our comfort? Follow Philip’s example – of bold faith and obedience, no matter where the Holy Spirit leads.