Acts 17:17 – “Paul went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market.”
In our liturgy for receiving new members we ask them if they will support our church with their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness. Then when they have answered affirmatively we join together in a unison reaffirmation of our membership vows: “We give thanks for all that God has already given you and we welcome you in Christian love. As members together with you in the body of Christ and in this congregation of The United Methodist Church, we renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
Paul was witnessing in ancient Athens; at the meeting place and in the market. Paul was probing the ground to see if Athens was fertile soil. From what I saw when I was there I can tell you that there was a lot of pavement (typical city), a good bit of rocky ground (about like the Texas hill country), and a whole lot of thornbushes (modern society). I am sure there is fertile soil in Athens but it was going to be hard for an outsider to find it. But Paul was right at home in the Jewish meeting place and he knew the Greek language and he was acquainted with the teachings of the Greek philosophers.
God has planted each of us right where God wants us to grow. Most of us do not need to go more than a mile from our home to find people in need. They need someone to listen, they need someone to care, they need to hear good news. Be a friend and then be a witness.
Photo: The ancient Greek market on the left and the Roman market in the lower center.