“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:16,17
Keenly aware of the need of the people around him of the saving message of Jesus, the Apostle Paul used the synagogue of the Jews and market place of the citizens of Athens as a platform by which to share.
I don’t think I’ve quite figured out what places today might be our “synagogue” opportunities for sharing Jesus. Our “market place” opportunities however seem more obvious. Literal physical places of buying and selling (restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, garage sales as well as the digital marketplace.
Yesterday (June 28th, 2017) I posted my family car for sale on five what I would call social media marketplaces – Offer Up, multiple Facebook sell sites and good ol’ Craigslist.
No sooner than I got my ads posted than did I start receiving calls, texts and messages! For most of the next three hours straight and a portion of the next two hours after that, I fielded inquiry after inquiry about our car. Until finally a buyer arrived, looked it over thoroughly, test drove it and bought our car, six hours later! It was quite the ride! No pun intended, but enjoyed nontheless. Not what I had planned for the day, but productive for the family at any rate.
My time spent selling our car was also evangelistic. Some time ago I decided to attempt to do something direct to point every person I communicate with to God. Opportunity and my own personal courage in each instance determine just how far I go, but my attempts include everything from simply saying, “Go with God” to “How interested would you be in discussing some scriptures about that together?” Responses to me range from simple amens to obedience to the gospel. There being almost no deriding negative responses. So few in fact that it is hardly worth even mentioning. In fact I cannot think of one in recent history.
Following is a statement I made at the close of all of the message interchanges I had about selling our car. Following my statement are the responses I received.
Me, “[Buyer’s name], our ’96 Camry has been sold. I hope you find another deal. Go with God (John 14:6; Acts 2:36-40, Romans 6:3,4). If you are in the area some time join us for worship and rich fellowship at the church of Christ in Anaheim 10 AM Sunday at 1759 B Orange Ave, Anaheim.”
Gabriel, “Thank you. God is good, God is great.”
Robert, “😊. Amen…”
Julian, “Ok, thank you.”
Junior, “You are awesome thanks 👌”
I received no response from Melvin, Rigoberto, Dominego, David, John.
Luke records results from Paul’s reasoning in the marketplace of Athens. The later part of this record reads, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.” Acts 17:32-34.
Brethren, though we may not see ourselves as Pauls, most of us frequent market places of some kind weekly. Don’t worry about whether you can share Jesus like the apostle Paul or not. Determine to share Jesus, pointing people to God the way you are equipped to do so. Even if all you can think to do, or find the courage to do is say something about having faith or say, “God bless you” or “Go with God” or give a tract or hand out a business card for the church, or something else, attempt to do something. And then keep reaching for improvement, confessing Christ and inviting others to know Him better and better.
Unlike Paul, many of us have much more time to reason in our market places. He had a relatively short stay in Athens. Some of us frequent our market places five, ten, twenty plus years. Imagine what God could do with our influence for Him in these places over that period of time!
Think souls brethren!