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“Leaving the next day, we (Paul, Luke and company) reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven.”  Acts 21:8

How would you like to be remembered at your high school class reunion?  Jack the Jock, still talking about the game against Antigo because, well, that was pretty much the highlight of his life.  Or maybe Jane the Brain, 4.0, full ride to grad school, research chemist for some big pharma company out east, blah, blah, blah.  Maybe you’ll be remembered for how hot you were in high school, because you’re not anymore.  For what do you want to be remembered?

The early church remembered Philip as “the evangelist.”  That title is impressive because no one else in the Bible is called “the evangelist.”  Philip earned that title from the people whose lives he impacted.  A lot of things contribute to being an evangelist, like excitement for the Gospel and love for people and the ability to explain truth so that others get it.  But maybe there is a more important ability – availability.

We meet Philip first in Acts 6, when a rapidly growing church needed more staff.  Philip was one of seven chosen because they were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.”  Now how would a church of several thousand people recognize that about Philip?  Well, he was always available, engaged in the discussion of Bible study groups, volunteering to tackle tough issues and meet hurting people’s needs.  He was Philip the Available.

When persecution drove Christians out of Jerusalem, some headed for Galilee and others to the Mediterranean coast.  Not Philip.  Acts 8 says that Philip went to Samaria and “proclaimed the Christ there.” The Samaritans were ethnic mongrels and religious heretics, hostile to Jews.  Still, when Jesus ascended, he gave the church this vision statement: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Philip was available.

You may recall the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, an African who was instructed and baptized by Philip. Do you remember how the story begins?  Philip is told by an angel to head south toward the Gaza strip.  There’s no indication that he was told why.  Philip was available.  “On his way,” we’re told, “he met an Ethiopian.”  Of course, he did; because Philip was always looking to meet people, to start a conversation that would lead to Jesus.

Will you be remembered for being available?  Sure, you’re probably overworked and tired.  Maybe you aren’t outgoing and you don’t think well on your feet.  But will you be available to the people God puts in your path?  Will you notice people no one else seems to, people who are different and people who are hurting?  Will you start a conversation with people you don’t know, listening to their story and then sharing what you know about Jesus’ story?  You can be an evangelist, really, if you’re available. 

PRAYER: Lord, help me to get beyond myself.  Show me how you can use me to be a blessing to the people in my life. Use the talents you’ve given me to connect with others.  Overcome my fears and weaknesses with your power and presence.  Make me available, for Jesus.  Amen.

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