CLERGY CORNER: Do not be intimated

Posted on 29 May 2014 by LeslieM

Paul was in Athens the first century after the resurrection. Athens was a center of Greek philosophy at the time. Men like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, philosophers from days gone by, had an enduring legacy. There were massive buildings and a population of several hundred thousand people. The culture valued human reason and intellectual reflection. I imagine intellects milling around like C-Span junkies in the courtyards in search of debates. I also imagine Starbucks on every corner …

Enter this little unsophisticated man named Paul with his ragged clothes. He walked alone unnoticed in the midst of stoics, philosophers and poets. He must have felt out-of-place, but he had world changing news to share.

The Book of Acts tells us how:

22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor, he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though, indeed, he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being;’ as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.”

[Acts 17: 22 – 28]

Paul offers us a clinic on how not to be intimidated.

Some people are naturally more easily intimidated than others. We don’t exactly have equal doses of confidence. Some folks camouflage their feelings better than others too. My wife recently met with her doctoral committee to discuss her dissertation research. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the parameters of her research. Her research had to be approved in advance by people who have done this before who, by the way, are the same people who will approve it or disapprove it when the research is finished. Her situation was intimidating!

We’ve all been intimidated at one time or another, but should followers of Christ be intimidated? The short answer is “No.”

Paul offers a great character portrait of “If God be for us, then who can stand against us?”

Paul looks at his surroundings and gathers the confidence that comes with knowing who he is and whose he is; and he receives the assurance that comes with finding his purpose in Christ.

We can read the story about Paul in Athens and marvel at what Paul did and think, “Wow. I could never do that.” But Paul’s message is not really about preaching in Athens. Paul’s message is about Christ’s followers overcoming intimidating situations living out our faith wherever we are because we have world-changing news to share.

Join us for worship this Sunday at 10 a.m. at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach), located five blocks south of Hillsboro on AIA.

Our worship focus is “Do Not Be Intimidated” based on Acts 17.

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