July 10, 2015

Philip and the Ethiopian: Loving Questions

Acts 8:26-40

Philip...heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

—  Acts 8:30

The Ethiopian was a prominent official—he had charge of his queen’s treasury. He was also a God-fearing man and was returning from Jerusalem, where he had gone to worship God. During the long chariot ride home he occupied himself by reading from the book of Isaiah. As the man struggled to understand what it all meant, God connected him with a teacher.

God sent an angel to direct Philip to the desert road heading south. Philip obeyed, and the Spirit urged him to approach the chariot of the Ethiopian official.

As Philip heard the man reading, his heart opened to engage with him over the Scriptures. Philip asked a loving question: “Do you understand what you are reading?”

Because Philip was obedient in following God’s leading, he was given the opportunity to see God’s transformative power in the life of this man from a ­foreign land.

Would you have asked such a question of a stranger? Is God bringing you into places where you can come alongside others with questions like that? How might we ask loving questions to engage the people around us in conversations of faith?

It takes courage and a sense of bold confidence to trust the Spirit’s leading in situations like this. Do you trust the Spirit to guide you?

Lord, give us courage to lovingly engage with others. Help us to reach out in love to those around us with what you have given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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