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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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.