Philip received word from God that he was to “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” While Philip did nor know what the Lord had planned for him, he responded to the call. While on the road he came upon an Ethiopian eunuch who was a minister in the court of Queen Candace of the Ethiopians. He had come to Jerusalem as a convert to Judaism and was on his way home.
As he traveled in his chariot, he was reading from the Book of Isaiah. God’s Spirit instructed Philip to join the chariot and become a guide to understanding what he was reading. The passage was Isaiah 53:7,8. When the treasurer asked Philip what the writer meant, Philip began with the scripture he was reading to tell him “the good name of Jesus.” The treasurer was so caught up in what it meant to fulfill God’s word through Isaiah that he wanted to trust Jesus and be baptized in a roadside pond. Philip agreed and baptized him before God led Philip away to another ministry. As the lesson title states, Philip seized the day to follow God’s call to mission.
How can we seize the day for missions in our daily responses as God opens doors for introducing persons to Jesus? We are all familiar with stories of persons who have surrendered their lives to mission service, but all of us are not going to follow that call to missions. Let me suggest some everyday opportunities we might seize.
Ministry to hungry and destitute children in local missions. In Kansas City, Missouri, the City Union Mission (cityunionmission.org) offers opportunities for volunteers to assist in their ministry to families and especially to children in low income families who need better food to help them make progress in school.
The Christian Appalachian Project raises funds to provide to children and families living in poverty. If you want to give personal aid to these families, you may do so at ChristianApp.org/spiritualangel. Along with providing needed material resources, you can include your testimony for Christ.
Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri, offers opportunities for members to do mission service to the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in South Dakota among the Lakota people, to Haiti, and to other places with mission needs.
The Cheyenne River Indian Outreach for Children (crioutreach.org) sees the need regularly. Children are all too often the “secondary victims” of adults who fail them and suffer in a dysfunctional environment. As the only private care facility on the reservation, the work with native American families, children and teenagers is so important seeks to provide a safety net for at-risk native Americans. Donations can be sent to Cheyenne River Indian Outreach, PO Box 500, Chamberlain, S.D. 57325-0500.
Chaplaincy ministry. When we consider the work of chaplains, we generally have in mind military or medical chaplains who are trained for their ministry, but there is also a place for dedicated Christians to be available to help persons in many other places. In the May 2016 issue of Word & Way, “Chaplaincy is viewed as a growing field for ministry,” author Brian Kaylor shares an excellent article discussing the workplace as a particular setting for seizing the day for missions. Former pastor Keven Bussey, who is now a Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA) chaplain reports that the biggest blessing he experiences as a workplace chaplain is “when I get a chance to share the gospel with an employee or family member.”
Bussey says that the workplace “is the greatest mission field in the US….Seventy percent of adults go to work weekly. A vast majority have no church home. Corporate chaplaincy takes Jesus to the workplace.”
Ministry to Syrian refugees. Philip went to an Ethiopian who was searching for the meaning of Scriptures. He was led to Christ by Philip’s testimony.
As more and more refugees, especially from Syria, are assisted in coming to this country rather than being fussed about, it has opened a new mission field for Christians who can experience the joy of leading someone to Christ as we help them in adjusting to our culture.
John Howell is academic dean emeritus at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
Bible Studies for Life is a curriculum series from LifeWay Christian Resources.
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