Jump Start # 3214
Acts 8:31 “And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”
In a couple of days many of us will gather with our friends and loved ones for Thanksgiving. That day is more than food, football and fun. It’s a time the nation pauses and reflects. For the child of God, we are thankful every day. Where would we be if it were not for Jesus.
This week, our Jump Starts are focusing upon the spirit of being thankful. We are looking at things that we often take for granted and even overlook. In our verse today, there was the Ethiopian and Philip. The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah but he was lost. He didn’t know who the prophet was talking about. And, it is here that the preacher Philip arrives. And, beginning with that passage, he preached Jesus to him. As they came upon some water, the Ethiopian wondered if he could be baptized. Preaching Jesus includes baptism. Preaching Jesus involves how a sinner can become washed and forgiven in the blood of Jesus. Talking about Jesus without revealing why Jesus came and how His death can save us, is to leave the story incomplete.
But layered here is something to be thankful for. All of us have had a Philip in our lives. It may have been a parent or grandparent who patiently taught us God’s word. It may have been a preacher that delivered a sermon that connected all the dots for us in our minds. He invited Philip to come up and sit with him. And, in our case, we’ve invited our Philip to come into our hearts and show us God’s amazing grace.
In this season of thankfulness, give some thought to:
· The person who led you to Jesus. That person may be on the other side now, but have you thanked the Lord that your life intersected with this person and they took the time to answer your questions and explain the Word of God to you?
Have you told your children and grandchildren your spiritual story? Do they know who baptized you? Do they know how old you were? Do they know where all of this took place? Share these rich lessons with your family.
· The Bible class teacher that opened your eyes to the amazing truths of God’s word. Many of us have had dozens of Bible class teachers through the years, but there was that one special teacher that really helped you come to understand God’s Word. Maybe it was a difficult book like Revelation or one of the prophets that they taught. Before this, you were always in a fog. You never understood. But after that rich and wonderful class, you felt confident about that book of the Bible. Have you thanked the Lord for such a teacher? What beautiful talents the Lord gave to that person.
· The Christian friend who comforted you when you were in a deep valley spiritually. Maybe after a funeral this person came and just let you talk. This person allowed you to vent. But through a marvelous way, this person helped you stay on the right track with the Lord. He wouldn’t let you get derailed. His encouragement, his love, his presence made a huge difference and helped you get through one of the worst moments in your life. Have you thanked the Lord for this person? Had they not been there, you may have crashed spiritually. You are strong today, partially because of the effort of this person.
· The Christian who cared enough to warn you about some poor choices you were making in your life. Maybe you were heading away from the Lord, hanging around those who had no interest in Jesus, and slipping spiritually. This person spoke the truth to you. It may have made you mad at first. It may have pushed you the other way at first, but deep inside you realized they were right. They cared. They didn’t have to say anything, but they did. They wanted to see you back with the Lord. And, their words did just that. It made you think. It made you see through the shallow friends who lived with no moral compass. You once again saw Jesus, who loves you so much. Because of that, you came back. Like the prodigal, you headed home where you belong. Have you thanked the Lord for having such a caring friend in your life? Without those words, you would have continued on in the wrong direction.
As we think about our spiritual journey, there has been dozen of people who have helped us. Maybe it was someone who helped you with your babies during worship. Maybe it was someone who brought food after you were sick. Wonderful people have sprinkled our lives for a long, long time.
While we are thanking God for these people, there are others who are saying your name to Heaven. You have been there and helped others. This is the way the beautiful kingdom works. We pass that spiritual baton on from one person to the next. We have been helped and now we help others.
Take a moment, before you get too busy this day, and send the names up to Heaven with a thankful bow tied on top of those who have made a difference in your life. We stand upon the shoulders of so many others.
We are a blessed people.