Living Like Philip
This past weekend, we had our first ever Harris Creek Freshman Retreat. It was a chance for us to get away, introduce freshmen to Harris Creek, our staff, our Life Group leaders and each other. After talking with a few upperclassmen about how to structure the retreat, we came up with the conclusion that we didn’t want to just inform the freshmen, but we wanted to challenge them also.
After a brainstorming session with my wife, we decided that one of the greatest dangers college students (or all of us, for that matter) face is becoming too comfortable. We can get so wrapped up in the busyness of life that we find ourselves very comfortable and complacent, completely self-absorbed and neglecting the spiritual and physical needs of those around us.
My freshman year at Baylor I became way too comfortable. I was at Baylor, sheltered by the “Baylor Bubble, and I had a daily routine that involved a nap and cookie cake (RIP, Mrs. Fields on Valley Mills). I went to church on Sundays, stayed awake during chapel and even went to a Bible study every now and then. My days and weeks were filled with a lot of “good” things, but all of those “good” things eventually led to a very selfish version of myself.
I don’t believe that God has called us to a life of comfort. Throughout scripture we see different people being called away from their comfort zones to fulfill whatever mission God has called them to.
On the Freshman Retreat, we looked at Acts 8:26-40 (I’d encourage you to go read it). It’s the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. To summarize it briefly, Philip is told to leave behind his thriving ministry to head towards Gaza in the desert. Along the way, he comes across an Ethiopian eunuch (a government official in charge of keeping the queen’s treasure) reading Isaiah 53:7-8. Philip feels led to go talk to him and asks him if he understands what he’s reading. The eunuch responds by saying, “ “How can I unless someone explains it to me?”. He then invites Philip up to talk with him and asks him to explain it all to him. Philip then, beginning by pointing to scripture, explains the Gospel to this man. The eunuch is so excited about the Gospel that as they pass by water, he requests to be baptized right away. The eunuch goes on his way rejoicing and the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away.
Looking at this passage, I pulled out three things that I think apply to all of us:
- Philip went where God called him to go when God called him away. For Philip, that meant leaving behind a fruitful ministry in a comfortable place. He didn’t pout like Jonah did when he was called to an uncomfortable place. Instead, he went right away and the Holy Spirit was with him the whole way.
- God placed someone in Philip’s path that needed to hear the Gospel. Whether you’re a student, lawyer, teacher or a stay at home parent, God has placed people all around you that need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Some times these people are a lot different from us. Philip and the eunuch came from two very different backgrounds, but that Philip didn’t let hinder him. Many of the people God has placed around us, just like the eunuch, just need someone to explain it all to them.
- Philip kept going. The story doesn’t end with Philip going home and patting himself on the back for a job well done. Instead it tells us that Philip continued on his way, preaching the Gospel in all of the towns he came across until he reached Caesarea.
It’s my hope and prayer that we as a church and all of us individually will never let ourselves cling too tightly to the comforts of the world. As Brady mentioned during the stewardship series, there are a lot of opportunities around town for us to put the needs of others first as we attempt to seek the welfare of the city together. The question for each of us is: Are we willing to do that?