Along for the ride

Photo by Adi Perets on

Originally shared through TribeWriters

“Evangelism” can be an intimidating word, causing us to feel unequipped, unmotivated, or unfaithful if we’re not accomplishing the actions and outcomes it evokes.

For many, there is an authentic desire to “share the good news”, but we wrestle with knowing how, when, and with whom.  Afterall, we think of the eloquent, outgoing pastor, and are reminded of our own stuttering, timid words.  To evangelize – we believe – we must boldly and enthusiastically approach strangers with well-crafted words; otherwise, we may be ineffective, or worse, look like fools.

What if there is a scenario in which evangelism could happen, and you were simply going along for the ride?

This is what Philip experienced in Acts 8:26-40.

The story of “Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch” is well-known.  Philip is walking around until he stumbles on an Ethiopian reading the Bible.  Philip joins him, helping him understand not just the Scripture but the good news about Jesus.  They pass by some water, at which point the Ethiopian is baptized and Philip is whisked away.

It’s a beloved story of evangelism, but if we think Philip is the one who made it all happen, we are dangerously mistaken.

In fact, Philip called very few of the shots:

  • v26: An angel tells Philip to get up and tells him where to go;
  • v29: The Spirit tells Philip to join the Ethiopian;
  • v31: The Ethiopian invites Philip to guide him;
  • v34: The Ethiopian prompted the key moment to share the good news;
  • v35: The Spirit gave Philip the words: this is implied, as “Philip opened his mouth” could indicate that he wasn’t simply talking, but was experiencing something similar to that of Peter in Acts 4:8.
  • v36: The Ethiopian suggested baptism;
  • V39: The Spirit carried Philip away; Philip didn’t even leave on his own, but was teleported in a supernatural way!

In other words, at every key moment, it was not Philip that made this incredible evangelism event happen.

Someone could be thinking, “Are you calling for laziness?  Are you saying we shouldn’t be intentional?”  Of course not.  What we should ask, though, is “Who is responsible for evangelism?”

This passage would indicate it is not us: the Spirit is.  It was the Spirit who prompted both Philip and the Ethiopian along the way; Philip simply stepped in obedience.

Depending on your situation, this can be vital:

  • For those who wrestle with pride, and think they are expert evangelists, this reminds us that it is not about us, but God.  This story isn’t about Philip being great, but being obedient.
  • For those who wrestle with fear, and question if they are capable of sharing the good news, this shows that we can come with little and the Spirit can work wonders.  This story reveals the Spirit will guide, if we are willing to listen.

God is inviting us to participate in sharing His good news; like Philip, we simply need to seek Him and step where He leads.




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