Date: Wednesday, July 31
Scripture: Acts 17:16-28
Verse: For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. (Acts 17:23)
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis seeks to expound upon the basics of Christianity, often conversing with his own pre-Christian arguments for atheism. Answering the objection about being unable to empirically prove the existence of God, Lewis writes, “A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet.” As a fish is immersed in water and does not feel wet, Lewis is saying, so too human beings are so immersed in the presence of God that we sometimes miss his presence. We don’t feel wet. We feel normal. Becoming a Christian, following this logic, is becoming aware of the water.
Another author and theologian uses a different image. In talking about evangelism (sharing Jesus with others) many talk about bringing God into a situation, which he argues is the wrong way to think of it. He says a good evangelist is like a tour guide. Tour guides “see the same things that we do, but they are aware of so much more. And when they point it out, it changes the way we see everything” (Bell, Rob. Velvet Elvis, Zondervan 2005, p. 89). Like the water in the fish tank, someone needed to help us see it.
I love Paul’s model of evangelism here in Athens. He is not negative, pointing out all the errors of the pantheon. Rather he celebrates their longing and seeking after God. Like a tour guide he points out the “unknown,” and uses it to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
In many ways, our culture is much like Athens in Paul’s day. There are many “gods” out there – individual spiritualities people have pieced together on their own. In our culture many “search for God and perhaps grope for him … though indeed he is not far from each of us” (vs 27). Our role is not to introduce God into a situation, but rather show the fish they have been in the water the whole time.
Prayer: Thank you God for opening my eyes to see you at work in the world around me. Amen.
Action: Think of ways you might point out God at work in the lives of those with whom you seek to share the good news about Jesus.
Respond: When has a tour guide helped you see something new? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.