28 Jun Build a Bridge
Read Acts 17:16-25
Thought for the Day: Today, I can build a bridge!
The Apostle Paul arrived in Athens to a startling scene: “while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols”. Rather than condemning the people for following everything other than God, Paul saw an opportunity. Since these people had set up so many gods and idols, they were searching for answers. With this in mind, Paul acknowledged that the people of Athens were looking for the answer that is found in Jesus: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” Rather than condemning the people, Paul built a bridge and introduced them to his Savior.
Years ago, I had an interaction with a girl in a youth group which will always stick with me. Her mom let me know that she was concerned her daughter was out of control and “needed church”. So, the daughter was dragged to youth group, and she promptly put on headphones and sat in the corner listening to her iPod. While I could have gone over and insisted she put her music away, I chose to ask if I could listen too. Surprised, she said I could but immediately warned me that her music wasn’t “church-appropriate”. She wasn’t wrong, but I listened anyway. For the next half hour, we talked about music and a bridge was built. The next time I saw her, she approached me and started talking about music. I got that sense that for once she felt like an adult had taken time to listen to her instead of immediately telling her what she was doing wrong.
Are we willing to look for opportunities where we can build bridges with others? If we are honest, there are many opportunities every day. When we look for them, we start to see chances to build bridges in our families, jobs, and community. Rather than coming to a snap judgment of others, let’s learn to pause. God asks us not to condemn, but to build bridges and use them to introduce others to Jesus.
Pastor David (and Stan)