I recall Henry Blackaby’s counsel from His excellent Experiencing God study; To find the will of God for your life, look around, see what God is doing and get involved in it. That remains wise counsel, but on this particular day, the Lord was not leaving the discovery of His will to Phillip’s powers of observation alone. He used an angel to issue a directive, “Go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” The next thing we know, the Holy Spirit Himself is saying, “Go up and join the chariot.” Once Phillip engaged the driver of that chariot he found what God had been doing. He discovered the eunuch was a reader and simply asked him how that was working out. It was not long before this foreigner was a member of the family of God.
Why do some come to Christ and others do not? If this story is representative of God’s ways, it is pretty obvious that people come to Christ because the Good Shepherd, using his disciples, supernatural rounds up the lost and leads them into the fold. The story reveals to what extent God is willing to go in rescuing lost sheep.
He used the supernatural to maneuver Phillip and the eunuch into close proximity and then He used the most natural of means, Phillips’s ability to engage the man in a conversation. When Phillip was trying to determine what God had been doing, He did so by inquiring as to what questions were churning inside the man’s heart.
Don’t you know Phillip’s heart leapt when he discovered that the man just happened to be reading about Jesus, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. Phillip was able to relate that the One he had been reading about had just recently come to earth from heaven as a sacrificial Lamb and left as the resurrected King, securing eternal life for all those who would simply believe that He was the Son of God.
Note: This paragraph presumes you read yesterday’s post. Our passage today strongly reinforces the doctrines of “election” and “the sovereignty of God”, foundational biblical truths. However, when these doctrines are regularly fed to and incorporated into a Sunday/Wednesday / “spectator” Christian culture where discipleship is optional, I think our mission as ambassadors gets derailed.
Trusting in God’s sovereignty in having brought things to this arrangement where professionals do the bulk of ministry overlooks God’s sovereignty in bringing all of us into our own unique network of people – people that the professional at HQ are not equipped geographically or relationally to reach.
I believe God wants us to recover our initiative as individual Kingdom citizens and envoys who are honoring God’s sovereignty by recognizing where he has intentionally placed us within our own unique existing networks of relationships. I believe he wants us to see our hearts and our networks as the front lines of the kingdom of God.
Another besides Henry Blackaby, attempting to recommission the saints into ministry, is Dr. Bruce Wilkinson. His book, You Were Born For This makes a great biblical argument, within a “reformed” theological framework, that we have all been sovereignly maneuvered, with angelic and Spirit assistance (like Phillip), to arrive where we currently are, fit geographically and spiritually into networks of people who have questions rumbling around inside them that we alone are positioned to inquire into. The book provides numerous accounts, no less fantastic than Phillip’s, that demonstrate that God’s supernatural resources are available to reach out to the “1 and 99’s” who are everywhere around us. The only question is in regards to our wineskin mindsets. Have we been conditioned to “attend” church or to “go” out into the ripe fields where we have been placed and make disciples?
An application of this passage is right in front of us. A Blue Book has been placed in the hands of a group, which I assume God has sovereignly assembled, that has both answered and provoked questions regarding the same One the eunuch was inquiring about. Some of us have been coming together regularly and asking each other, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Over time a priceless dialogue has resulted. Safe spaces have been created where we have given each other permission to be ourselves. Networks have been identified. Members of those networks are taking ownership and investing into these holy friendships. Hearts have grown closer to each other and to God. This was accomplished because a few people took the initiative to reach out with this Blue Book. What would happen if those who have been infected with Blue Book-fever contaminated others in relational proximity to them?
Father, awaken us from any slumber that has come over our spirits that would suggest that “ministry” is for professionals and that we are here to just attend church, cast our votes and pay a tithe in behalf of others who actually do the work. We pray that you would even use the Blue Book network to help us and others discover our identities as sons and ambassadors, reclaiming our unique destinies as those who tear down strongholds and destroy the lofty speculations that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. Grant us ears to hear. Grant us courageous hearts to respond to Your voice that is calling us out past our comfort zones. Help us to see that our choices are essential in the mysterious outworking of Your sovereignty. And may we see a great harvest of new kingdom sons and citizens. In Jesus’ name. Amen.