Monday, June 19, 2017

Acts 17:1-9

Acts 17:1-9
English Standard Version (ESV)

  Do you read the comments on links of news stories people post to Facebook?  I will admit to occasionally doing so, and the one thing that stands out, more than any other, is that most of the people commenting don't actually bother to read the articles.  They read the headline and get the general gist of the story, assuming they know everything else they need to know.  Their argument is formed from the headline.
  Now, a good headline writer can capture the general sense of the article, but no one can grasp the nuance and complications of real-life stories just by reading the headlines.  That takes an investment of time, but in our over-busy and headline-driven world, we don't really bother to do more than read the headlines, even if we have time or interest.  We just assume we have a full understanding of the situation.
  So when I read that Paul spent three days reasoning with the good people in Thessalonica, I'm a bit amazed.  It reminds me a bit of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, where they would debate for hours with a huge crowd gathered.  They would take a break, everyone would go home and eat dinner, then they would come back (!) for more hours of debate.  People wanted to know the detail and nuance.
  If we're going to grasp the entirely of the Christian story, the truth of God's love and come to a full understanding of what the Gospel means for us, we can't just invest in soundbites.  We can't settle for only a verse of the day or an inspirational snippet -- we have to invest our time, our energy, into growing closer to God.  We have to be interested enough in what God has to say to us that we put ourselves in a position to listen to what God has to say, and it may take days, weeks, month, years.  Spiritual development is a serious investment, and if we expect instant results after a headlines' worth of time, we'll be inevitably disappointed.
  The people of Thessalonica heard enough to be interested, but they kept coming back for more, until they had the full story.
  Will we keep coming back, day after day, to be fed by the Spirit and nourished by grace?

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