Today we studied Acts 17:22-31 mostly. (This is a reaction to the January 24 bible study lesson at http://ssnet.org/lessons/13a/less04.html.)
Near the end of Paul’s speech to the Greek philosophers, he quotes one of them, the philosopher Aratus. What kind of modern person could we compare Aratus to? Was it like quoting Lady Gaga or Al Gore or Martin Luther King, Jr. or someone else? I don’t know, but he was wasn’t quoting sacred writings; he was quoting someone who would reach the Greeks.
And that is a great example for us today. It reminds me of the Christian Book Searching for a God to Love, by Chris Blake. He quotes sources from movies and books and songs and poets and many other sources. It’s great: he’s moving in the actual mental field that the rest of us are in and relating it to the things of God, taking the unfamiliar and connecting it to the familiar.
Ministers need to do that: to have a finesse in moving in conversation from the non-sacred, mundane things of life to words about God without being too jarring.
It’s also fascinating that Paul talks about our relationship to God in those verses, saying that we live in Him, that He needs absolutely nothing from us but rather gives life and everything else to us. He states that God appointed everyone’s place in history, and yet that He’s not far from anyone.
It’s amazing: God really is outside of time and space, seeing the end and the beginning and the middle of history, knowing what every nation’s boundary is in that time and space, seeing everything that will ever happen laid out like pieces on a game board.
We think we can serve Him and add something to Him and help Him, but He doesn’t need our help. He gives us our life and breath and the very thoughts with which we imagine helping Him.
But what does Paul say about why God is close to us and calling to us? It’s so that we can reach out to Him and be saved by a relationship with Him. God doesn’t need us, but His perfect love means that He will help us for our sakes, even though it doesn’t add anything to Him. He’s totally complete and infinite in Himself, so He only gives, never needing to take. He’s pretty amazing, no?
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)