A Passage and A Prayer 1/24/19

“So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I will proclaim to you.’” Acts 17:22-23
 

They had so much and yet they worried about what they had missed. The people of Athens had many altars to the many idols they had created. Their lineup of the gods they had imagined was impressive. Paul said that they must have been very religious because they had so many altars. But for all that, they worried about the one that they missed. What if they had omitted a god, and by this neglect they’d made him mad? So to cover all the bases, they made an all-purpose altar dedicated to the no-name god, the unknown one. The more they had, the more they worried of what they missed.

That could be said of many today. The more they have, the more they worry about what they missed. It could be more money, or the perfect home, or the best vacation, or the overflowing garage. But for all the getting, there is still the wanting and the dread that what’s needed won’t come.

We can be Paul to those who feel this vacuum in their lives. Paul said that he would tell the Athenians of the One they were seeking. He would fill their vacuum by telling them that the unknown god was the one and only true God, Jesus. He came, not as an idol of stone, but as the living man who was also God. Paul told them the story of Jesus, living, crucified on the cross, and risen again, a story beyond any imagination. Emptiness they could feel on their own, but they needed someone to tell them of the God who fills that void.

Imagine how we can be Paul to those who feel something missing in their lives. We don’t have to stand in the middle of the street. Sitting in a friend’s kitchen, sharing lunch at work, running into someone at the store will probably work better. Imagine how you can tell in the simplest way the story of how Jesus has given you peace, promised to carry your worries, and given you hope. Tell someone simply that we can all pray and He hears us and that he cares for us more than we can imagine. Empty lives, filled with clutter, wait for us to say simply, “Let me tell you a bit about the One you’re looking for.”

Our heavenly Father, give us the words to say to those who feel empty without you. Send us at the right time to listen to them and then to point simply to you. Fill the vacuum they feel and be the God they can truly know. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.


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