The steps of a good man, Acts 8:26-29:
“26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.”NIV
‘’The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD…’’ (Psalm 37:23 KJV).
‘Evangelism is harvesting where God has already ploughed, sowed, cultivated, and nurtured. We go where He has gone before us.’ Jerry Root.
It has been said that in the Kingdom of God, the reward for work well done is more work. But the more work may not initially look like promotion. Philip had been an instrument in an exciting ‘revival’ in a bustling city, but as he listened to God and followed His leading, he found himself moving from a ‘big’ sphere of ministry towards a smaller one. Philip was directed to ‘’the desert road’’ (26). Initially that may not have seemed too promising. But never hesitate to go where God’s finger points. It doesn’t matter whether you are speaking to large crowds or are helping one individual, so long as you are in the centre of God’s will. This was by no means a demotion. Philip was off on another adventure in the Spirit. He found himself crossing paths with a senior politician from Ethiopia. This man was reading the Bible, and whenever someone takes a serious look at Scripture – and especially the Person of Christ – they are likely to become lost to the devil’s cause! So it was to be in this case. Jerry Root says that in our witness we don’t take Jesus to people; He is already present, at some level, in everyone’s life. We find Him active in surprising people and surprising places. But when the Lord starts to show you a new direction, you still have to take the first step, and it may not always appear as an attractive proposition. However, we read about Philip that ‘’he started out’’ (27), and as he did so, he found himself written into another beautiful story. In the Christian life you often only have light for the next step. Then when you have taken it, there is light for the next…and so on.
Things are not always as they seem. It was just one man. It wasn’t a crowd. But who can tell how many he influenced for Christ back home in Ethiopia? Who can say what impact there was on the continent of Africa as a whole from this single conversion? This could have been the beginning of something far bigger than the Samaritan revival. But even if not, Philip’s change of direction and ministry was worth it, because one man, one woman, one child is always worth it. Each human being is valued at the immeasurable price of the blood of Jesus.
I heard a preacher say this morning, ‘What was the last thing God told you to do? Well, go and do it.’ It’s time to ‘start out’, and who can say where it will lead you?