Acts 16:9-10 - And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them.
I like Paul's enthusiasm. No sooner does he get a message that the people in Macedonia need his help, but he's ready to go. No time for questions or worries—he's out the door!
But of course, when Paul's group got there, they faced the question of what to do next. Philippi was a big city. Where should they start? How do you share the Good News of Jesus with people who don't even know that they need it? How do you give the world's most valuable gift to people who don't see any need for it?
Paul and his group eventually wound up at the riverside, where some women in the city went to pray every week. I'm sure it wasn't what Paul was expecting, but they told them about Jesus anyway. And some of these women became the first Christian believers in Europe. Together they began the first congregation in Philippi.
You might be facing a similar question. You know that there are people in your family or among your friends and neighbors who don't trust in Jesus. They may even be strongly against Christianity. And you love them. You want them to have God's good gift. But how do you start? How do you deal with the fact that they don't recognize the Gospel as a gift at all?
We can do what Paul and his friends did. We can meet people where they are, not where we expect them to be. For example, if they are interested in fishing or motorcycles or sewing or music, we can have conversations about those things. We can have coffee together; we can be there when they need babysitting or a ride to the airport. We can make sure they see God's love shining through us to them, regardless of whether they ever come to faith in Jesus Christ.
By doing these things we are loving them with the same love Jesus shows to us—a love that does not manipulate or force or have a secret agenda, a love that wants to give them every good thing—everything from casseroles to the good news of the God who laid down His life to give them peace.
Over time, people begin to see that you truly love them, and they become curious about the source of that love. Some of them will ask you: "Why do you care about me? Why did you let me borrow your car when mine broke down last week? What makes you the way you are?"
And that is your opening to tell them about Jesus. Because Jesus is the One who loved you through life through death into life again—and He loves them through you.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, show me how to love the people around me so that they will see You and come to trust in You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Who are you praying for, that they may come to faith?
2. How do you love them in concrete, easy-to-see ways?
3. How can you make sure that your love is real and not simply manipulative?
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