They took him . . . to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?”
— Acts 17:19
Something special happens when someone earns the right to share an insight or opinion. Sadly, some people don’t seem to understand that there are times when you have to earn the right before you can share your opinion.
In his visit to Athens, Paul was brilliant. As a follower of Christ, he had become distressed that the city of Athens was full of idols. And the Spirit gave Paul some insight into what was going on there. The city took pride in being a hotbed of ideas, and people engaged in the worship of all kinds of gods (represented by the idols). In fact, many people “spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.”
So Paul began to reason with people in the marketplace. He had taken time to listen to them, and they were intrigued by his new message about Jesus. They said they wanted to hear more, even though they didn’t fully understand what he was saying. In this way Paul earned the right to share about the one true God, and many people believed.
It can be easy to get mad at the world, to be frustrated with how things are swinging one way or the other—but getting angry and combative is not the answer. Paul walked into the midst of a confusion of ideas and earned the right to share about God by connecting with people and gaining a sense of what mattered to them.
God, help us to understand the world around us and to share who you are and what you have done for us all. Amen.