Daily D – Acts 17:33
Acts 17:33 At that, Paul left the Council. (NIV)
Two great theologians help us understand these six simple words.
The Gambler, according to Kenny Rogers, said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Paul knew when to walk away. Paul knew the limitations of the people in the theater.
After doing what I do for forty years or so and observing others who do what I do, I have formed the firm opinion that some of my brethren and I could learn a thing or two from Paul at this point.
Read Acts 17:16-34.
Paul started where his new acquaintances stood (verses 16-18). Those who inclined their ears to him invited him to say more and enlarged the circle of listeners (verses 19-21). Paul found common ground and took his stand there (verses 22 and 23). He then began cutting in from the edges of the canvas as he painted a picture they had not seen until then (verses 24-31). Upon this first hearing about Jesus, some sneered. Others were intrigued. Further discussion was scheduled. Paul walked away.
It is at this point where many of my Baptist Brethren would have shouted all the louder and demanded a decision. Paul walked away. Some followed.
Respect begets respect. Hearing invites listening. Truth spoken in love wins hearts and minds.
I will respectfully speak the truth in love.
Our Father, your gentleness and kindness win more hearts and minds than my loud commands ever will. Reshape my communication skills so that when I walk away, people want to hear and know more of your goodness and grace. Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”