I love the story in Acts 8:26-40 where God calls Phillip away from the revival in Samaria and down a desert road to have an encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. What stands out to me, among many things in the narrative, is that Phillip had to chase the chariot that the eunuch was riding in. This is important for several reasons.
First, it illustrates, that despite the need for the weekly services in church buildings, etc., God calls all of us away from these church events, ministries, and programs, and down the “desert” road to have encounters with people who are seeking truth. The desert is a type of wilderness and lostness where people are endeavoring to make a “way” in life. How can people know the Way unless Jesus followers are willing to do down the desert roads and have these encounters?
Second, these encounters aren’t going to happen without chasing chariots. The word chariot in the Bible simply means, “to ride.” To me it is a type of all the “rides” we create in life to move, or get ourselves, our families, etc. from the proverbial Point A to Point B. These rides or vehicles, are jobs, sports, business, and all types of endeavors, that people believe will get them to the proverbial Promise Land of success, riches, purpose, or a sense of significance. Phillip had to literally chase the Ethiopians chariot, run alongside him for who knows how long, listen to what the Ethiopian was reading, and “overtake” him, the Bible says. What does this look like for you and me? Are we willing to put in the effort to chase people down in their journey of life, join them in that journey, run alongside, etc., truly listen to where they are in life; what’s happening at the moment, the struggles, challenges, questions, they’re wrestling with? If not, we have zero credibility to speak into their life- we simply haven’t earned the right to do so!
Finally, we must understand that ultimately, it is the effort we put into chasing chariots as described above, that earns us the credibility to have the conversations. The day of erecting church signs along the desert roads of life are long over; people no longer pay any attention to them because they simply don’t see the church as credible, so they drive on by. Instead, the church, true followers of Jesus, must, like Phillip, leave what often seems like successful ministry, and become the sign ourselves as we join people in their journey, lend a listening ear, and reveal the true character, compassion, and credibility of Christ!
Are you chasing chariots?
I think I cut someone’s chariot off on US Highway 6 this morning.
That is a great word for the church! Key point is that Philip was obedient, went and done what he was told. Philip was spiritually connected and as followers of Jesus that’s where we got to be for God things to happen!
I did not come to believe in Jesus Christ until the age of 22. Somebody was chasing my chariot – a fellow student named Rich. Rich got involved in my life, and engaged in short conversations – each incrementally bringing me closer to God. When I would fight back with cynical arguments alleging inconsistencies in scripture, Rich would remain calm and stand his ground. And every time I gave a little ground by stepping closer to ending the turmoil, Rich would close the gap and be right there with me.
Rich chased my chariot, and addressed my confusions by keeping up with me – at my speed, like Philip to the eunuch.
We still talk now and then. Rich has a family in Illinois.
I do one or two-minute conversations with my colleagues in the workplace, each gaining ground. Terry, thanks for the “Chasing Chariots” message – it spurs me on.
I think it is important to highlight that it is God that should assign us the RIGHT chariots to chase. That way we can rest assured that He will absolutely be with us because we are on HIS mission – not one we have chosen for ourselves . Where He assigns us, we can be sure He supplies all we need for the job. I guess instant (to hear and obey) in season and out of season applies here. Your sermon was a good reminder to keep one’s ear attuned to God’s still small voice…. and practice our stamina for running : ) .