In times of difficulty and uncertainty, our natural inclination is often to turn inward, seeking comfort and security within our own circles. Yet, the story of Philip’s journey in Acts 8 in the Bible provides us with a profound lesson about the importance of focusing outward, embracing opportunities beyond our comfort zones, and actively investing in the lives of other people. This story reminds us that even in the face of challenges, God can use our willingness to reach out and serve to fulfill His greater purposes. This blog post will highlight 5 practical steps you can start taking today to invest in others and fulfill one of God’s collective purposes for our lives.
“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:1-8)
5 Practical Ways to Start Investing in Others
1. Focus Outward During Difficulties
Acts 8:1-4 tells us about a significant event in the early days of the Christian church. Following the persecution of believers, they were scattered throughout different regions. Instead of retreating in fear, these believers chose to preach the word wherever they went. This action aligned with the fulfillment of Jesus’ commission in Acts 1:8, where He instructed His disciples to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
This dispersion, while seemingly challenging, allowed these followers of Christ to spread the message of salvation far and wide. It highlights the principle that God can use difficulties to awaken us from complacency and remind us of our mission. Rather than praying solely for restoration of comfort, the early disciples focused on expanding the reach of the gospel.
2. Embrace Opportunities Beyond Boundaries
Philip’s journey takes an unexpected turn when he reaches out to the Samaritans, traditional enemies of the Jews. This demonstrates the importance of breaking down boundaries and embracing opportunities that extend beyond our comfort zones. The story also includes Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch, a man with a unique background and identity. Despite societal barriers, Philip engages in a meaningful conversation and shares the good news of Jesus.
In a world where division and prejudices persist, Philip’s example challenges us to step outside our circles and engage with people from diverse backgrounds. Christianity itself is a movement that transcends boundaries, as Romans 10:12 reminds us that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in Christ.
3. Listen for God’s Promptings
Philip’s journey continues when he receives a divine prompting to travel south along a deserted road. Despite leaving a promising revival in Samaria, he obeys God’s call without question. This teaches us to be attentive to God’s promptings in our lives, even when they lead us into uncharted territory. The primary ways God speaks to us are through the Bible, His Spirit, and wise counsel.
In a world filled with noise, the value of slowing down and listening to God’s direction becomes paramount. By doing so, we position ourselves to seize the opportunities He places before us.
4. Seize Each Individual Opportunity
When Philip encounters the Ethiopian eunuch, he engages in a conversation based on the man’s reading of Isaiah 53. This underscores the importance of boldness and intentionality in sharing the story of Jesus. Philip seizes the moment to present the gospel and, as a result, the eunuch’s life is forever changed. The value of one individual’s transformation is a reminder that every person matters to God.
In a society that often emphasizes numbers and statistics, Philip’s example teaches us that reaching out to one person at a time can have a profound impact. Rather than being discouraged by the scope of the task, we can focus on the individual opportunities placed before us.
5. Boldly Tell the Story and Assist with Next Steps
Finally, Philip’s story emphasizes the significance of boldly sharing the gospel and guiding individuals toward their next steps. Just as Philip explained the Scriptures to the eunuch and assisted him in his decision to be baptized, we too can play a role in helping others understand the message of Jesus and take steps toward a transformed life.
By considering the example set by Philip and the early disciples, we can discover the power of investing in others. Their willingness to move beyond their comfort zones, listen for God’s guidance, and boldly share the story of Jesus showcases a blueprint for impactful and meaningful lives. As we engage with the world around us, let us remember that investing in others is not just a calling but a privilege that aligns with God’s redemptive plan for humanity.