Finding Hope: News Junkies or Word Junkies
Cultures are Different and Times Change
Cultures are different and times change, but humans have always had habits and those habits shape who we are as individuals and as communities. In his adventure travel series, captured in the book of Acts, there were two cultures that Paul encounters; the Athenians and the Bereans. Both of these cultures consumed something on a daily basis. The Athenians were news junkies and the Bereans were Word junkies , and that made all the difference. We meet the Athenians in Acts 17: 16-21
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?”Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
I can imagine them today, channel surfing, blog posting, and hotly debating their opinions on the latest dramas. We find the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11:
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
The Bereans probably had bibles that looked liked these ladies in Uganda, studying during a FARM STEW training.
So what was the result of their habits?
Speaking of the Athenians it says:
"And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them." (Acts 17: 32-34)
The Atehnians mocked or evaded the questions Paul posed. Those that believed were few, he named just three people. What did Paul do with this unappreciative crowd? He departed from among them.
The Bereans, on the other hand, had a contagious revival that crossed cultural and gender boundaries:
Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:12)
These two cultures, specifically their daily habits, shaped the response of these people. It will shape ours as well. What do we consume daily? Are we prepared to see where God is working, where new life and new hope are springing up? What captures our attention? And what will the results be, in our lives and those around us be?
God's Word Shapes Our Lives
It may seem that we will miss the latest and greatest by daily spending time in a 2,000 year old book, the Bible. But knowledge of God's word, and allowing it to shape our lives, will be the very thing that allows us to catch the movements of the Holy Spirit when we hear the whisper of the still small voice of hope. It may be the breath of the Spirit that ignites the fire in our hearts that will change the world!