Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. – Acts 8:4
Have you have been scattered? You begin somewhere and then everyone disperses? It often begins when we graduate high school and everyone moves along to their “next chapter”, whatever and wherever that may be. We all have different experiences; some being scattered many times, others finding a solid landing place that serves well for a lifetime.
When we are scattered, we carry something within us wherever we go. That’s what happened to Philip. It was in the early days of the church. Stephen had just been publicly stoned to death because he proclaimed the resurrection of Christ. All the people except the apostles, were scattered.
The people who killed Stephen were quite confident in their judgement of Stephen. They believed they were “protecting” God’s people and the faith. Saul, a devout and deeply faithful Pharisee, began strategically moving home to home condemning people for believing in Jesus. He placed them in prison. He was certain he was God’s messenger and agent; he justified these destructive actions. Saul was being “faithful”.
Philip was among the many who were scattered during this hard season in the early life of the church. He carries within him the faith and story of a Savior who came to earth to redeem, restore, and fulfill God’s kingdom on earth. It was a radical proclamation, and it was a story with tangible love and grace that many had never experienced.
This story was a personal transformation that Philip lived every day. People were healed in encounters with him. The Spirit led him to random strangers who were seeking for what they did not know. He had no campaigns, videos, or internet to spread what God had given him; he just had what was within, what had been given by Christ.
In our modern and widely accessible world of the 21st century, it may help us to pause and remember how powerfully God moves in the one-to-one conversations, when all you have is what you carry within your heart, mind, and spirit. You may even be scattered today. My work often takes me to other communities; sometimes it is like being scattered. It often feels like a holy scattering.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus about when the kingdom of God would come, he replied that it is not something that comes with your observation; “the kingdom is within you”. And then he turned to his disciples:
He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes. (THE MESSAGE – Luke 17:22-24)
Wherever you go today, I pray you carry within you the redemptive love and grace of Christ. Whether offered with words, actions, or the sheer gift of presence, may you be scattered to bless all who you meet upon the path. And may there be love however and whenever you return “home”.
Lord, we don’t always comprehend the fullness of your mysterious grace. We don’t have to understand it all. We walk by faith because we believe in you. Keep us humble enough to follow where you lead us today, and courageous enough to joyfully share whatever you have given us to offer. Thank you for the scattering that blesses. Thank you for the landing places that help us experience love as “home”. We love you, Lord. We trust you completely. Bless your people who are on the move today. Amen.
Read more of Philip’s story here: https://bit.ly/Philipscattered
Andrew Peterson – World Traveler