Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30
When I was in third grade, I had a Language Arts teacher who never seemed satisfied with me. All year long I strived to do good work in my favorite class and all year long I heard the same thing. “Good work but your handwriting is terrible. Work on your handwriting.”
“Good work, but…”
In those days we had these things called autograph books. At the end of each year, we’d bring our books to school and have our friends and teachers sign them. Hopefully they’d write something nice, but there was always someone who ruined your page by writing something dumb.
What I learned from her then was that the effort I made wasn’t quite good enough. In fact, the grade she gave me was lowered because of it.
This morning I was journaling out some scripture and for some reason, that memory came to my mind. I guess it was because I was writing in cursive, taking pleasure in the way forming letters felt under my hand. And then I had this thought: My grandchildren – whenever I’m blessed to have some – won’t even be able to read my writing. The cursive “Mrs. What’s Her Face” thought was so important, now means nothing to future generations.
Then I thought, Oh my gosh! Since cursive is obsolete in school, they won’t be able to read the Constitution, Declaration of Independence or other documents as they were originally written. That is unless I make sure they’re taught.
I guess my teacher wasn’t so dumb after all.
Now, go back to the Bible verse above, about Philip and the man who invited him to come sit with him. Philip was literally running alongside this important Ethiopian official’s chariot at the Holy Spirit’s command. Picture Philip out of breath, trying to keep up with the mighty beasts pulling it.
I’m guessing Philip was thinking, hold your horses! when he got the invitation, and that the man stopped them so he could climb aboard.
As they rode along – the official in his royal finery and Philip in his ragged tunic – he taught the man about the good news of Jesus and his kingdom. This resulted in the official requesting to be baptized into the new Christian faith and the taking of the Gospel to the Ethiopian kingdom of Queen Kandace.
When I think about why the Holy Spirit chose Philip for this task and what it would mean for future generations in Ethiopia, only one thing comes to mind . . .
Philip knew Jesus and he could run fast.
Your Turn: Do you have an “obsolete” skill you could teach future generations? Is the Holy Spirit asking you to share your knowledge of Jesus with someone else?
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Jesus (Matt 24:35)