Deep philosophical conversation. Inciting riots. Quoting Athenian poetry. Charting a road trip to the cultural capital of the known world. These are all part of St. Paul’s mission to his neighbors. Last Sunday we saw how he ministered to the city of Athens by knowing it’s story, challenging that story, and re-telling the story in light of God’s story of mercy and redemption in Christ. (See chapter 7 of Why Cities Matter by Um and Buzzard)
As we continue our series “For the City” this Sunday, we’ll dive into St. Paul’s encounters with the city of Ephesus and a resulting riot. But we’ll also look into the words of Jesus who called the man a fool “who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
Though Jesus’ words inspire us, it’s easy for us to see how far we have to go. It’s easy to look at St. Paul and think, "I could never stand in front of an open market place or in front of a civic body and communicate God’s story so clearly and winsomely." And while that may be true in part, God doesn’t want us to shrink back from engaging our city with his love, with his story. He asks us to be rich in love for him and for our neighbor, deep in prayer and humility on behalf of our city, and ready to be present to those around us with God’s story being imaged through our lives in word and deed. He’s asking us to be this and do this even in small ways for the city.
This week look for small ways you can be and do God’s story to those around you. These small actions can leave a lasting, eternal impact on those around and bring a movement of God’s grace to our city. Maybe a neighbor needs help with some yard work? Maybe you need to call and reconcile with a family member? Maybe you need to get to know the people who live across the street from you?
Whatever it is, please know that I am right alongside you, praying for you as you engage the city with God’s story, being rich in love towards God and towards your neighbors.
See you Sunday -