“Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way.”
Acts of the Apostles 17:22
By now, most people in the world know about the degrading health of author and apologist Ravi Zacharias. This Sunday at our drive in service, I will have more words to say about this giant in the Christian Faith. But for today, it’s simply worth noting that Ravi was a very respectful and gracious man. How? The model in Acts 17 is a good place to start. In a world that increasingly tells Christians “have no part of” ________, Ravi Zacharias would go anywhere he was invited to. Russian generals, Mormon tabernacles, Muslim heads of state, business leaders, these just brush the table of the legacy the Lord has painted for Ravi, because in any setting, Ravi was always gracious before beginning his talk. Consider his opening in the Mormon tabernacle in Utah, the first time in over 100 years an evangelical was invited to preach there:” I appreciate the invitation from Brigham Young University to come speak because I am very aware that there are differences in our beliefs systems and some of them are pretty deep, but you know? You find common ground in which to meet, and talk! Because unless truth is spoken in love, the speaker is obnoxious, and the truth talked about is offensive.Whatever our differences may be, isn’t it wonderful in a world torn by strife, that we can come together?!” Think of it!! Never once did he say how wrong the Mormons were in his opening?! Only then did Ravi begin his talk, like Paul did on Mars Hill, saying “When Christians deal with the truth, the only truth worth dealing is the sufficiency of Jesus Christ.” Paul in the same spirit said “Whom you worship in ignorance, He I proclaim to you!”- Acts 17:23.
Here is the challenge this morning: are you respectful with others? Are you being “salt” as Christ asked us to be in Matthew 5? As of this writing, Ravi is still alive. My hope is in the years my family is here, and I continue to be in ministry for Christ, that I can only be as respectful as the Apostle Paul was, and as intentional as one of his mightiest successors, Ravi Zacharias. All so that Christ just might get a hearing: and that all might be free in Jesus. Amen.
John Thomas is a Pastor at Carroll Springs UMC.